Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow Day 2 [With 3 P.M. Update]

A lot of airplanes are out of position today because of the ice storms in the Midwest, which arrived in the Northeast overnight as snow. Luckily it’s a Sunday and, if nothing else goes wrong, the air-travel system should struggle back to shape by tomorrow.

Till the next time the weather turns bad. This being the cusp of winter, that'll be soon enough.

But consider: Of the 2,297 departures and arrivals scheduled yesterday at Chicago’s O’Hare, 683 were cancelled. That’s a whole lot of airplanes spending Sunday morning where they aren’t supposed to be, in a system without any slack.

Questions: Where are the thousands of people who were booked on those cancelled flights? How many are still stuck in airports, given the fact that there are often no short-term re-booking options if your flight doesn’t fly.

Anyway, be sure to check on your flight times today or tomorrow.

[Update Sunday 3 p.m. -- I was maybe a little too optimistic earlier. Cancellations to and from airports in the Northeast are piling up, and no way does this get fully sorted out by tomorrow, even if the weather is great. As of 3 p.m., there already had been about 225 cancellations at Newark. Snow-and-ice delays were stacking up at Kennedy, LaGuardia, O'Hare and Philadelphia, and at San Francisco high winds were delaying flights.

If you're traveling tomorrow, plan ahead. And make sure you have an apple or a granola bar or two in your carry-on, in case your flight gets stranded for hours on the tarmac, as sometimes happens.]


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