Flight Delays - from GOOD magazine's Transparency blog
Flight Delays - from GOOD magazine's Transparency blog


The entire graphic is quite large. If you click on the image or here you will be able to see it in all its glory. Hope you invested in some screen real estate because GOOD is making some optimistic assumptions about the size of your monitor(s).


I took the liberty of including a close-up here. Should suffice.

Flight Delays - Close Up
Flight Delays - Close Up

What Works

The window up and down is cute and of course I am thrilled that they included the percentages those window shades are representing with actual numbers.

What Needs Work

This strikes me as one of those graphics that looks far more clever than it actually is. I have no reason to believe that security measures caused flight delays, except that the explanatory text suggests it is so. Here’s why I have logical doubts. First, the period over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday season is notorious for weather related delays. Maybe some of these cities had some nasty weather in one year that they didn’t have the previous year? I didn’t actually look this up, but the point is that if I were to be convinced that security alone could cause flights to be delayed I would need to know about other likely reasons for delays. Another problem could have been the relative level of fullness of the flights – fuller flights take longer to board and deboard.

From my anecdotal experience, another cause of delays has been the increase in baggage fees. Due to the fees, more people try to cram all their luggage into the overhead compartment which makes planing and deplaning an agonizing experience. I’m quite sure we’ve watched someone about my height (short) struggle to remove an uncommonly heavy and unwieldy bag from the overhead compartment a few rows BEHIND their assigned seat. The fight goes on for at least two minutes and could include the passenger standing, one leg in each aisle seat. Hey, kids, that’s entertainment. If everyone involved is lucky, nobody gets hurt. If not, the bag is a hard-sided suitcase full of, say, sociology text books, that lands on the head of an unhelpful but otherwise blameless person sitting in the seat below. Then there are at least five minutes of first aid, profuse apologies, tardy offers of assistance from some passenger who had been standing around making impatient grumpy faces up to this point, and general pandemonium.

My point is: this graphic seems to be based on convenient rather than thorough research. Maybe the delays were caused by increased security measures alone. But as a logical consumer of infographics (and frequent flyer) I admit, I’m skeptical. Could have been weather, could have been fuller flights, could have been the restructuring of baggage handling, or, more likely, some combination of all those things.


GOOD Magazine and Design Language. (2010) “Flight Delays”.