In "Consumer Report" May 28, Jack Adler should have considered obtaining comments from qualified airline pilots regarding "time spent on the runway." To suggest that planes hold for such lengthy time periods on the runway (1 hour and 15 minutes) is bordering on misinformation. Airline aircraft hold at the gate until cleared by ground control to push back or taxi out of the gate. They then are cleared to taxi via the taxiway to the appropriate runway. Any holds for take-off are held on the taxiway. Momentary delays on the actual runway usually accomplish the required flow coordination within the airport's landing and take-off sequences on adjoining runways.
The Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale is the controlling authority for all computer-stored and filed flight plans for several Western states. Their professionalism, together with the various airport local control tower staffs, daily moves 1,000 aircraft of all sizes as safely and expeditiously as their antiquated equipment will allow. There is a valid safety reason for delays, short or long.