What Exactly Is a Slot?

What exactly is a Slot? | Editor: Florian Lieke

A slot needs to be free so that an aircraft is ready for takeoff or landing. But what exactly is a slot? Pilot Christina will tell us!

Pilot Christina Domweber in the cockpit

What is a slot?

How many times have you been on a plane, all passengers took a seat, everything is loaded, but nothing really happens anymore. The minutes go by and you slowly start to worry about your connecting flight. Followed by an announcement that you have to wait in the parking position for a few more minutes because of a slot, before you can finally take off. And you wonder:

What is a slot? What does it mean? The weather is nice and the runway seems to be free, too?

Slot: Time Window for Takeoff and Landing


A slot is a defined time window of 15 minutes (-5 and +10 minutes at a certain time). During this period, an aircraft may arrive at a certain point of the airspace boundary or airport. In Europe, this slot is usually specified by EUROCONTROL.

Air traffic and the number of flights are continuing to increase, especially during the peak travel season in summer. The amount of "space in the sky" is not rising with it, however, and is limited. Furthermore, weather phenomena also play a role, so that the airspace cannot be fully utilised. The reasons for a slot being delayed can also originate on the route itself, or at the departure or arrival airport.

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So if there are any delays, make yourself comfortable. Be sure that the whole crew will do their best to operate the flight as punctual and of course as safe as possible, to get you to your desired destination. As with other restrictions in aviation, a slot contributes to the safety of everyone.

Thank you, dear Christina, for the look behind the scenes. Now, if you feel like flying, book your next flight with Austrian Airlines right here:

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