We’re Waiting For a Slot


A narrow notch, groove or opening, such as a keyway in a machine or slit for coins in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series, sequence or time period; a vacancy.

You check in on time, make it through security, find your gate and queue up to get on board, struggle with the overhead lockers and settle into your seat. Then the captain announces “We’re waiting for a slot.”

This is an euphemism used to describe delays on a plane that are caused by other aircraft in the area being forced to hold their takeoff slot at that moment. This type of congestion is not uncommon in European airspace and can be a huge frustration to passengers, especially if they’re late for their flight. Central flow management and slot allocation have been introduced in recent years to cut these delays down, saving passengers time and money and cutting fuel use.

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