Monday, December 27, 2010

Flight Cancellations Mount, Big Mess Ahead

[Battlefield, Gone With the Wind. "Tomorrow is another day"?]

How many flights were canceled over the weekend and today?

The media are all over the board on this one, but there's a very easy place to do the math:, which is always right on top of these things.

According to FlightStats data on individual airports, there were more than 2,500 departures canceled today at the New York airports, plus Philly, Boston, Atlanta, BWI, Reagan, Dulles, O'Hare and Detroit. I didn't do the math for other airports, but it's safe to say that hundreds of additional departure cancellations were logged. Let's call it an even 3,000 departures that were canceled.

I'm not including figures for arrival cancellations, because some of the departure cancellations at any given airport also can turn up as arrival cancellations at another. Some, but not even close to most. But anyway, in all yesterday, there were more than 2,200 arrivals canceled at those airports.

On Sunday, there were just over 1,900 departures scrubbed at the same airports, with almost the same number of canceled departures. And on Saturday, Atlanta had more than 1,000 departure and arrival cancellations.

Rough guess is well over 5,000 flights that were scheduled from Saturday to Monday did not leave. Nearly each one was booked at or close to capacity, as are most of the existing flights on the schedule for this week and into the busy travel weekend.

It all adds up to one big fat serious disruption for air travel in the coming week, because there is no slack in the system to accommodate passengers who got canceled out.

Today some airports, with stranded passengers and crews camped out in despair, look like the battlefield-aftermath scene in "Gone With the Wind."

Tomorrow, as Scarlett O'Hare, I mean O'Hara, famously vowed, is another day. But frankly, Scarlett, it will just be another damn mess.


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