CBS News took a tour of Delta’s operations center this week, showing travelers how the airline copes with poor weather. Above you can learn what the network found out.
Of the three, my favorite was the Lufthansa center in Frankfurt. There, I learned how dispatchers plan flight 456 from Frankfurt to Los Angeles. Here’s what dispatcher Marcus Pabst told me when I asked him if the computer program that plans flights always chooses the fastest route:
It depends on what I have preselected. I have four options. I can tell the computer, give me a minimum cost track, including the overflight charges. Or I can ask for a minimum fuel track only considering the fuel burn. Or I can ask for a minimum time track. I would use that if I duty time problems from the crew (crew are permitted to only work so many hours per day) or most of the passengers are transit passengers and have to pick up their next flight, and we are arriving so late that if I have to send 50 passengers to the hotel or to another airline we are going to have to pay more money. The fourth option is the minimum distance track – the shortest distance between two points.