January 3, 2018 admin2

How long?


With the imminent publication of the DATASET2050 project results, this seems an ideal moment to compare a recent trip with one of the key project outcomes, the average door-to-door travel time.

DATASET2050 modelling of passenger journeys within Europe has found the average door-to-door time to be 6 hours, some way off the Flightpath 2050 target of 90% of travellers being able to complete their journey within 4 hours. Of this 6 hour average, the time passengers spend at the departure airport is almost as long as the flight itself.

Out of interest, I timed each phase of a recent work trip between south London and central Madrid – from the front door of my home to the final destination. The journey took place on a weekday without undue disruption affecting any part of it.

Time taken for each phase journey:

  • Door-to-kerb: 64 minutes from my front door to the airport, travelling by bus and train, including walking and waiting time.
  • Kerb-to-gate: 78 minutes spent within the departure terminal, including check-in and security processes, plus walking, refreshments and waiting time.
  • Gate-to-gate: 175 minutes taken from aircraft boarding at Gatwick to alighting at Barajas. Of this, 109 minutes was in the air, the remaining 66 minutes on the ground (i.e. boarding, taxiing-out, taxiing-in and alighting).
  • Gate-to-kerb: 43 minutes taken from the arrival gate, through immigration and customs processes, plus walking time (note carry-on baggage only, so no waiting around to reclaim luggage).
  • Kerb-to-Door: 40 minutes from the airport to the hotel by metro, including walking and waiting time.

The overall door-to-door time comes out at 6 hours 40 minutes – worse than average! 27% of this time was spent in the air, with a further 34% spent at the departure airport (i.e. kerb-to-gate plus the ground portion of gate-to-gate at Gatwick). Admittedly some of the time spent in the departure terminal was unused door-to-kerb ‘buffer’ time (to allow for problems travelling to the airport), however a good proportion of the kerb-to-gate time was there ‘just in case’.


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