The disappointment that comes when you run through the airport only to realize you missed your connecting flight by a matter of minutes can be painful. And it might not seem rational – especially if there are other passengers and checked bags involved.
The reason behind strict gate closures is to obtain high “D-0” (D-zero) rates. The D-0 metric designates flights that depart on time and is monitored by the industry to evaluate airlines.
United Airlines is working on alleviating this issue by testing out a new programthis link opens in a new tab, named “Dynamic D-0,” at their Denver hub, that uses a new software to evaluate several factors to determine if it’s possible to hold a flight. Since about a quarter of United’s flights arrive at least 10 minutes early, the software examines these flights, then takes into consideration the list of connecting passengers to determine if there’s room to delay the departure time. United’s operation center then identifies flights with departure flexibility and alerts gate agents.
United president Scott Kirby said at an investor conference that this new software can see, for example, «here’s five or six customers that are coming to this connection; they’re going to be five minutes late, but we know we can make up the time in flight on this particular flight.” However, he warns that sometimes holding the plane won’t make sense…