One memory that sticks out in my mind from my baggage handler days is of a young woman, hands pressed against the glass in the terminal crying. She was looking at an airplane, her airplane, sitting 100 feet from the gate, parking break set, pilots running through the check lists before takeoff. It was the last flight of the day. That woman is going to have an unplanned overnight stay in Chicago. Was this necessary?
Airlines generate data about every departure delay and use it internally to make predictions and hand out financial bonuses. A typical delay scenario is the agent had an unusually high volume of standby passengers they had to clear at the end of the flight but they weren't the fastest typists and the computer network was more laggy than usual. Flight attendants didn't do all they could to expedite boarding so the standby passengers couldn't sit down until one minute before departure. Ramp got the jet bridge bags two minutes before departure and couldn't scan them (scanner was having bad wireless reception), throw them into the cargo hold, attach and tighten the nets and close the door without taking causing a delay. The airline demands one department take the blame. Managers representing each involved department pitch bitter battles that last days over who gets charged for the delay. The nerds who analyze the data don't get the fine grained detail they need to make smart changes. It makes no sense to blame all that goes wrong to one department, all you'll learn is who gives up first in these blame games.