Can an Airline Pilot Really Make Up Time During a Flight?

Or is it just a way of calming passengers?

Though it’s a myth that Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time of the year, tight travel windows mean delays can sting especially hard during the holidays. In 2011, J. Bryan Lowder and Andrew Bouvé investigated whether pilots can really “make up time in the air” when a flight is running late. Watch the video below.

Airline pilots like to reassure delayed passengers that they’ll make up some of the lost time in the air. But if pilots can really make a trip go faster, why don’t they always do it? Can they really shave some time off a flight when they feel like it?