Ask the Captain: Does a flight’s arrival time mean when it lands or gets to the terminal?

When a plane is scheduled to land at 7 p.m., what exactly does this mean? Is this when wheels down occurs or is this when the plane arrives at the terminal?

 – FTC Jr., Irvine, California

The arrival time on the airline’s schedule refers to the time the airplane arrives at its gate. That’s probably something to keep in mind the next time you are considering flights with tight connection times.

On Christmas Eve, I saw a news report where a passenger said their plane was “frozen to the tarmac.” Is this really possible?

– We, California

Yes, if there is freezing rain and wind, it can literally freeze the airplane to the ramp. Usually, a tug can free it, but it is possible for it to get stuck.

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