Delayed flights cost the U.S. economy a total of $32.9 billion every year, according to a new study of domestic flights.
More than half that figure is money out of the pockets of passengers, who are forced to spend money on items including food and hotel rooms while they wait for their plane, according to a report commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Airlines lose money on delays because of higher expenses for their crew, fuel and maintenance, The Washington Post said. Delays also force the airlines to run fewer flights.
"This report underscores what we have been saying all along, that flight delays drive billions of dollars in added costs, both to our airlines and ultimately to their customers," said James C. May, CEO of the American Transportation Association.
In 2007, one quarter of domestic flights arrived more than 15 minutes late.