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Flight routes planned in accordance with the weather

Chris St. Clair
Weather Broadcaster

Monday, March 31, 2014, 11:33 AM -

Every time you take a commercial flight you are traveling a highly orchestrated route that has been planned according to the weather conditions at the time of your departure and arrival.

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This video from NATS, the British Air Traffic Control Agency, illustrates all commercial air traffic for a 24 hour period compressed into 2 minutes. The result is a clear image of organized journeys from city to city and nation to nation.

Europe 24 from NATS on Vimeo.

Aircraft follow Standard Departure Routes (SID’s) from the ground up to planned flight routes at cruise altitude. Flights across the Atlantic Ocean are arranged into five tracks every day to take advantage of prevailing jet stream winds. These tracks are named A to E. Finally, your flight uses a Standard Terminal Arrival Route or STAR to approach and perhaps hold prior to its landing at your destination.

All of this is planned to take advantage of the weather - making each trip as safe, swift and economical as is possible. Every flight carries enough fuel to reach its destination, hold for 45 minutes and then enough extra fuel to fly to an alternate airport should the weather rapidly change.

Flying is the safest way to travel, and this video does a great job of demonstrating the complex system created to ensure that it stays secure and functioning in all types of weather.

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