A slot is a position in an airline’s flight schedule that gives them the right to operate at a given time and day, or at a particular air traffic management (ATM) gate. It is a part of the ATC system designed to keep takeoffs and landings evenly spaced, so that controllers can manage the flow of aircraft. Airlines can request time slots from their ATC provider and, subject to capacity, these are approved or denied by the airport authorities. Air traffic control slots can also be traded, and the ones at Heathrow are especially valuable – one was sold in 2016 for a record $75.5 million.
When playing in-person, or online, it’s important to have a plan and understand what you’re getting into. Unlike other casino games, there is no skill involved in slots, so you’ll want to know the basics, like what you’re playing for, and how your odds change from machine to machine. The best way to do this is by reviewing a machine’s pay table, which is normally displayed at the top of the screen or, in video slot machines, underneath the reels. It will include information on the number of pay lines, potential payouts, rules and bonus features. For example, some slots have special symbols, or require a minimum bet to access certain bonus features. A good way to get started is by watching this video from the popular HowSlotsWork YouTube channel.