Tag: DelaysView All Tags
January 2014 has been quite the banner month for travel disruptions, with thousands upon thousands of flights delayed or cancelled. And the month’s not even over yet!
On the bright side, at least all this weather-related trouble has likely toughened up casual flyers and instigated some good travel practices, like checking flight status before leaving for the airport and considering itineraries that avoid airports prone to winter weather warnings.
Still, there comes a point at which nothing more can be done but to endure the delay and hope Mother Nature rejoins your side. For times like those, we present the 5 stages of Flight Delays*
Nope / Winter Travel / Snow Travel / Delays / Airports / Airport News / Travel News / Storm Travel / Weather / → All Tags
A Delta Connection regional jet gets shovelled out after sliding off the runway yesterday at JFK Airport
Trying to fly somewhere today in the United States? It's going to be rough, no matter your destination, thanks to Mother Nature's mood swings and record low temperatures with record high snowfalls at a list of major airports. Even if there's no cold weather cities on your itinerary, keep in mind that air crew have to be able to get to the airport to work and the airplane for your flight usually has to fly in from somewhere else, and that somewhere else could be one of locations crippled by mass delays and cancellations.
This isn't negativity, but reality. Snowfall in the Midwest tops 12" with polar wind chill, rain mixed with icy gusts has created extremely hazardous icing conditions on the east coast, and Denver is just...Denver in the winter.
At 1pm EST today, JetBlue made the decision to stop all of their flights into or out of JFK, LaGuardia, Boston and Newark airports until at least 10am Tuesday. 300 flights are affected, but that's a smidgeon compared to the total 4,100+ flight cancellations and 11,000 delays today alone. [*FlightAware]
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Hercules is in town! No, we don't mean the strongman hero of myth, but rather the winter storm hitting the East Coast this morning, given the name "Hercules" by The Weather Channel. Airlines began canceling flights last night (2,647, according to FlightAware) and the bad news continues through this morning, with FlightAware's Misery Map showing 1,664 cancellations as of 7am EST this morning. Those numbers don't include delays!
Airports like Chicago-O'Hare enjoyed an early onslaught of traveler frustration yesterday evening as those cancellations and delays lit up the Departures board in red and yellow. An Instagram from comedian Deon Cole shows as much, although he has a fun take on the situation: "The airport in Chicago is insane! All this airport is missing is a DJ!"
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It's only 10am on the east coast and already airlines have already canceled thousands of flights (it was already at 1,000 cancelled by 9am, according to USA Today) and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey have already announced that they're not taking it laying down; JFK Airport is putting into service some 900 tons of salt, 200 tons of sand, and plenty of liquid de-icers, trucks, plows, blowers, and staff.
There's all of this focus on New York City and travelers stuck in the Big Apple's airports, which is understandable considering it's the city at the center of the world with major international flight connections, but let's not forget the scores of tired and cranky folks delayed at other airports around the country, trying to make it to and not away from NYC.
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While winter storm "Boreas" bears down on the east coast of the United States, travelers around the world are beginning to be touched by the flight delays and cancellations. Hundreds of flights already met the chopping block today, and with the worst of both the storm and the highest travel season of the year yet to come, you can expect it'll be a rough one for the airlines and airports clear through until next week.
Fortunately, several airlines have dropped ticket change fees to allow flyers with flexibility to attempt to fly later, on less hectic and less stormy days. Granted that may mean missing Thanksgiving at home, but if the alternative is an airport Sbarro's, then you know what to do.
American Airlines: Airports affected include New York-LGA, New York-JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, White Plains, Boston, Hartford, Washington DC-IAD, Washington DC-DCA, and Baltimore. Fee-free changes are so far only permitted if your original travel date falls on November 27.
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You're stuck. You're cranky. You're uncomfortable. If you're lucky, your home until you can fly out will be a hotel or the living room of a friend, but many will find themselves sleeping at the airport and that's just no fun. Here, however, are Five items you can buy at the airport to survive long flight delays:
· Beach Towel: Not only does it soften a sleep on the floor or hard chairs, but it's also effective as a dirt barrier between you and whatever is on that floor/soaked into the waiting area chairs. Spread it out on a blanket to curl up on, roll it up to use as a pillow or cover yourself with it like a blanket for privacy or warmth. There are many uses for something so simple, and luckily it should be cheap enough to throw out once your flight does board and depart.
· A carabiner clip: If you're planning on getting some good sleep, it's always an excellent idea to secure your belongings just in case. Buying a carabiner clip keychain or something similar may keep your purse strap/laptop bag handle/shoes/airport purchases bag next to you all night, instead of having it easily picked up and wandered off with while you're snoozing.
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With perfect timing, Mother Nature is rearing her head for Thanksgiving by dropping a Nor'easter storm named "Boreas" on the east coast. Airlines are already issuing change fee waivers for the major airports of the Northeast, and the rain is supposed to be heavy enough to cause massive delays and cancellations through Thursday and possibly even Friday.
While there's all of this focus on NYC, Boston, Washington DC and Philadelphia, let's not forget the scores of tired and cranky folks about to be delayed at other airports around the country, trying to make it to and not away from the East Coast just to eat some turkey with family.
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The emergency situation of Friday at Los Angeles International Airport is thankfully over, but while the police continue their investigation into the gunman who entered Terminal 3 and shot TSA agents (killing one), the airport itself returns to mostly normal operations.
For travelers with upcoming flights into or out of LAX, here's the latest answers on what's up at the airport:
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Update: 5pm EST: The latest findings report that the gunman is not a TSA employee, and may have been a ticketed passenger harboring anti-government feelings, who targeted the TSA staff. As for airport operations, LAX is still under a ground stop and all travelers with tickets into/out of LAX are encouraged to check with their airlines and consider alternate dates of travel, or routing through other airports. Bottom line: be flexible and be patient.
Update: 3:30pm EST: Virgin America has issued a statement confirming the events of this morning and expressing their concern for passengers. It has now been clarified that the suspect is in custody and is in critical condition, but alive. Vehicles heading to LAX (if they make it there) and to other LA-area airports should expect to be fully searched. JetBlue's flights to LAX will instead fly to Long Beach (LGB),
Update: 2:20pm EST: The gunman was an off-duty TSA agent. He has been killed my law enforcement, and is not simply in custody as earlier thought, according to NBC News.
Update: 1:55pm EST: It being reported that the police are confirming one death, a TSA agent shot and killed. Another TSA agent was shot and wounded, and has been transported to the hospital.
All LAX terminals are being evacuated (with no definite destination for the evacuated passengers). The 105 and 405 freeway ramps leading into LAX are closed. LAX is on a ground stop, with no flights departing and all arriving flights being held on the tarmac.
The weapon is rumored to be an AR-15 rifle.
BREAKING 1:15pm EST: There have been gunshots at LAX Airport, with a few people injured and a gunman in custody.
Facts are still fuzzy. According to the AP, "Witness Brian Keech said he heard "about a dozen gunshots." Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said emergency crews have responded to a multi-patient incident. The incident was reported after 9:30 a.m. PST"
Someone, somewhere in the airport apparently burned some toast, which set off a fire alarm and forced everyone to evacuate the terminal building. Luckily, the evacuation only lasted about half an hour, and it sounds like the resulting delay wasn't bad enough to cause passengers to miss fights. Annoyed passengers did, however, begin tweeting pictures of fire trucks heading for the airport at the ripe hour of 5am.
Although the crisis wasn't averted, we don't consider the mystery solved. Who exactly is responsible for burning the toast? How sensitive are the Burlington airport's smoke alarms? Were there no windows open anywhere? And was it whole wheat or seven grain?
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An Europe-wide consumer support site called refund.me helps passengers collect compensation from airlines for canceled or delayed flights. According to European air passenger rights, travelers reaching their destination three hours after schedule could qualify to receive a refund of up to 600 euros.
Airlines have a lot of excuses for why they run late, such as weather, technical/maintenance issues, flocks of birds, and tardy flight crews, to name a few. Lots of times, airlines blame their late arrivals on one or a combination of these in an attempt to convince the passengers that "it's just the way it is" with barely so much as a sorry. But, legally, they are not always legitimate reasons for arriving late, and as refund.me has figured out, passengers are entitled to get some of their money back.
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Who's ready for another round of the newest game sweeping the travel journalism world, "How Racist Can Reporters Get About The Crash Of Asiana Airlines Flight 214" (it's not the world's pithiest name, but it gets the point across). Last round's big winner was the Chicago Sun Times. The Sun Times got into trouble for headlining their story on the crash "FRIGHT 214," which more than one person thought was a not-very-clever reference to the stereotype of Asians being unable to pronounce L's. The paper apologized and that seems to have been that.
Our newest winner, however, may have gone so far over the line that they're probably going to get sued by the airline. And it's not impossible, given the schoolyard racism of the incident, that the airline will win.