FlightAware Discussions

Wide flight duration variation--Nonstop

In about a month, I am flying on LATAM flight 601 from LAX to LIM on the first leg of a trip to see the total solar eclipse on July 2nd in Chile.

This leg of the flight is nonstop, but in checking the elapsed time in the tracking log I see that there is nearly a 3 hour variation in the length of the flight.

My guess is that it has something to do with a delay on the ground either before or after the actual flight.

I’m hoping one of you fine people with more knowledge about reading the data can shed some light on this for me…

Thanks in advance,


The are multiple issues to consider. If you are looking at the gate-to-gate duration then varying taxi time to and from the runway at each end is the first issue.

The next factor is, if there is any adverse weather on the route and whether they plan to fly many extra miles to go round it.

A related factor is the strength of any tailwinds or headwinds. If there is a place with strong tailwinds near the great circle route then the route might be altered to take advantage of them. Flying a slightly longer distance at a much increased ground speed makes the journey quicker. Likewise, if there are strong headwinds on the great circle route, the route may be altered to avoid them.