The storms and bitter cold weather that have affected the USA and led to the delay or cancellation of thousands of flights this year have taken a financial toll. In January 2014 49,000 flights were cancelled by US carriers, more than 4 times the number cancelled in January 2013. Another 300,000 failed to take off on time. February is off to a bad start with continuing bad weather disrupting flights.
The question therefore needs to be asked: should business people plan their plane trips better to take account of the greater likelihood of disruption in January? In other words, should they delay making these trips to avoid January bad weather? After all, there are plenty of other media available to get in front of clients, colleagues and suppliers if that is deemed important enough. Video conferencing has been around long enough and even if you don’t have the facility yourself, you can go and hire it close by. It is also a lot cheaper and more time efficient than getting on the plane and booking into a hotel.
masFlight reports that it is not just bad weather triggering disruptions. New federal regulations require pilots to get more rest between flights. Carriers will need to hire more pilots. In the meantime, there will continue to be the stories of passengers getting on a plane in the USA with the flight attendants ready for action and everybody waiting around for the pilots to turn up. That happened to me this week. We all waited around for 3 hours for the pilots to show up. Not good!