Why do Pilots Prefer to Fly in Winter?

App in the Air — Why do Pilots Prefer to Fly in Winter?

Parts of the US have been rocked this week by major snowstorms, and while trapped commuters lament, airline pilots rejoice. Little did you know, many pilots prefer to fly during the winter. Why is that? Let’s break it down.

Call it a winter lull, but many pilots report decreased air traffic during the winter, as opposed to the constant travel of summertime. It may be chilly, but your pilots have the skies to themselves.

Oh, dreaded turbulence. Did you know? Turbulence is more common in the summertime. Pockets of hot air during summer months are a major factor in aircraft turbulence. The cold, crisp winter air allows for smoother flights.

Sleigh lift-off in holiday movies is a result of special effects of course, but aircraft takeoff is much smoother in the winter. The colder, denser air provided by this week’s snowstorm will improve airlift and engine performance, not to mention the wind assistance. Strong winds increase lift speed and drive the jet stream while the aircraft is in the air.

Commuters who struggle to read the street signs in the snowstorms we’ve seen lately may be surprised to hear this, but improved visibility is a major benefit to flying during wintertime. During the summer, the heavy, humid air leads to hazy visibility for airline pilots. As long as the plane isn’t flying through a blizzard, winter air is some of the clearest visibility pilots will see all year.

Increased visibility in the air and winter wonderlands on the ground come together to give pilots the best views of the year. Winter’s gift to pilots comes through those ‘pinch me’ moments at 10,000 feet, extending the happiest season past the holidays for your flight crew.

Did we just inspire you to book a winter flight? You can stay in-the-know through our covid restrictions landing page and book your first or final winter trip of the year through our app.

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