Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Daze

Above: Your tax dollars at work: The FAA "real-time" flight delays and airport status map at this time.

Whoa, a blizzard that's expected to dump 20 inches of snow in New York today has again caused massive delays and cancellations in the air travel system.

Not that you'd know it from the worthless FAA flight-status map that some media keep referring people to. There it is. The only airport the FAA seems to have noticed having problems is the hilariously named Newark Liberty International Airport, which the FAA site now marks with a little yellow dot, meaning "general arrival/departure delays are 15 minutes or less."

Uh, an actually reliable online site with real-time information,, shows that only 10 percent of the flights departing Newark so far today have departed on time, and only 14 percent of arrivals have arrived on time.

At Newark, more than half of the 1,190 flights scheduled for today have been canceled already.

At La Guardia, it's the same picture. More than half of the 1,143 flights today are scrubbed as of 10 a.m. EST. The situation is slightly better at JFK, where airlines are less eager to preemptively cancel flights: More than 260 of 1,132 flights are canceled so far.

These flight delays and cancellations today (and yesterday) come on top of the nearly 20,000 canceled flights during the previous two East Coast snowstorms this month -- and in an air-travel system that has no slack, lots and lots of passengers are fighting to be re-booked.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. EST: At Newark, there are now 795 cancellations for the day so far; at La Guardia, 686; at JFK, 442; at Philadelphia, 356. Et cetera, et cetera.

I thought I was joking yesterday when I suggested that by Easter maybe the system would return to what passes for normal these days.


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