Heads-up for anyone traveling to, from or anywhere near North Texas today.
A wicked string of tornadoes is seriously disrupting flights (not to mention normal life on the ground) at Dallas-Fort Worth airport this afternoon.
Delays are running two to four hours. Lots of arriving flights are being diverted to other airports. Cancellations are mounting. As of early afternoon, all inbound flights to DFW were being held at their originating airports till 4.30 p.m. Central time. [UPDATE: By early evening, more than 1,000 flights had been canceled at DFW, most of them on American Airlines and American Eagle.]
[UPDATE: American Airlines has scrubbed all flights to and from DFW for the rest of the day -- which means that it will take days for American to get its schedules back to normal. Meanwhile, the Dallas News is reporting that Love Field, the Southwest Airlines hub, has been evacuated. I'm not totally confident in that report, though, because Love Field was evacuated yesterday on false reports of a bomb, and the Dallas News Web site is not useful on breaking news. I won't even link to the Dallas News site because it's a jumble of unconnected text links, disjointed tweets and video snippets, with no cogent overview. Come on, folks, this is what editors and words are for!]
This is a lot more than normal early spring weather disruption. Tornadoes are touching down in various places, with significant destruction on the ground.
For fliers, it's an unholy mess -- so do check with your airline if you're flying west of the Mississippi today and tomorrow. Given the fact that the airlines have no slack built into their schedules these days, it may take a while to get flight operations back to normal -- not just at Dallas but elsewhere in any system in which Dallas is a hub.
By the way, as of right now (mid-afternoon Dallas time), the Web site of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is ridiculously devoid of any information whatsoever on this major disruption. Why even have a Web site if you treat it like a brochure?
The American Airlines web site, also, is doing a disgraceful job. There is no notice of the disruptions at DFW, and if you click on the AA "weather conditions" for DFW, you get only this profoundly useless information: "Mostly Cloudy."
Gives you some idea of why some pilots deride operations at DFW as "Different F------ World."
Incidentally, I never cease to be amazed at how inept reporters are in reporting air-travel disruptions. One local report in Fort Worth quotes the DFW airport flack as saying that flights "may be delayed or diverted" -- long after a very large number of flights were in fact diverted.
When will they learn that the guy on their Rolodex under "airport" who they've been calling since like 1997 doesn't know jack? You get real-time flight information from FlightStats.com or FlightAware.com.
Really, you could look it up. FlightAware.com, for example, has the number of American Airlines and American Eagle flight cancelled today: 794.