Waiting time is the time in which the passengers, crew, and aircraft must wait on the ground during any portion of the trip. Waiting times can be induced on purpose or by accident. In larger, more commercial airports, waiting times are induced to allow for the smooth flow of traffic in and out of the airport. Due to the heavy volume of airplanes and the single capacity of a runway, planes must be delayed to not cause too much congestion on the taxiways and ramps at one time.
Since airliners are so big and require a lot of time and space to operate, they tend to have longer waiting times. Smaller companies like business charter jets and air taxis tend to have shorter waiting times due to the low passenger count, which makes loading easier. The fact that the customer chooses when to leave also contributes to a lower waiting time, since if the customer is not waiting, there cannot be a waiting time. There can be a waiting time for pilots on the customer, but the term is generally reserved for the opposite.
Consumer Affairs also uses waiting times to rate both airlines and airports in terms of convenience and customer satisfaction. Although it seems that delayed flights have become the norm in today’s airline industry, the percentage of delayed flights is actually 1/3 of those on time. According to the latest figures from the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2008, 22.29% of flights were delayed and 75.38% of flights left on time. Some waiting times are unavoidable due to late passengers, broken planes, weather, or delays at other airports, but the odds are in the traveler's favor.