When you travel, you probably try to save money. That's why when you chose the flight that took you through Sheboygan and left you waiting on the tarmac for four hours, you thought to yourself, "Well, at least I can funnel the money I saved into boosting our great nation's economy." Thanks to that delay, they're going to need it even more. A new study from the Federal Aviation Administration and researchers at University of California, Berkeley says the country lost $32.9 billion in 2007 due to flight delays, with just over $4 billion drained right from the GDP. Yes, with a B.

The study reports that the direct and indirect cost to the airlines was $8.3 billion, and the cost to passengers was $16.7 billion. Those numbers are "based on the passenger time lost due to schedule buffer, delayed flights, flight cancellations, and missed connections." The study also took into account things like increased time spent away from home due to the need to book with enough safety time. As study co-author Cynthia Barnhart said, "If I have a meeting that begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Washington, I would likely fly out from Boston on Monday night rather than early on Tuesday, just to ensure that I arrive on time."

They also report that in 2007 "nearly one in four airline flights arrived at its destination over 15 minutes late," mostly due to "inability of the aviation system to handle the traffic demands" or internal problems in the airline. This year, just 18% have arrived or departed at least 15 minutes late. Lead researcher Mark Hansen said, "Flight delay is a serious and widespread problem that places a significant strain on the U.S. air travel system and its customers," which could be the understatement of the year. They didn't say whether the costs included things like putting Robert McDonald through the court system.