Airlines Struggle as Weather Worsens

Many regions in the United States are suffering from subzero temperatures and blizzards. The heavy snowfall has led many airlines to cancel some of their flights.

The extreme weather condition has also hampered mailing services. Experts warn that some regions must be more cautious as it could be deadly. Airline carriers have postponed over 2,800 flights ahead of the Christmas weekend.

According to reports, Denver International Airport, Chicago Midway, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport have had the highest number of flight cancellations. Airlines explained that the icy winds, snow, and low temperatures could affect travel across states.

“It’s all hands on deck to ensure our customers are cared for during the holiday travel season, including when severe weather hits. Critical to our preparations was sizing the airline for the resources we have available and operating conditions we face, as well as being able to react quickly to get our customers on their way once the weather clears,” said American in a press release.

Several airlines have already issued weather waivers for a significant portion of their flights across the country. Ironically, airlines have been expecting a bounce back from their losses over the holidays. Before the cold temperatures came in, three of the country’s largest airlines projected millions of revenue due to the increased demand for holiday flights. However, this condition could affect the projections of several airlines.

“We are seeing a lot of strength for the holidays or approaching the Thanksgiving time period, and our bookings are incredibly strong. However, the bookings are a little bit different this year, and they’re more spread out across multiple days than they were on any single day,” said United Airlines chief commercial officer Andrew Nocella months ago.

“We see airfare to those top destinations, the ones with the highest demand at the holidays, are much higher than they typically are at this time of year. And they’re only going to increase from here,” Hopper lead economist Hayley Berg explained.

“We’re going to have fewer flights available and more travelers looking to go home or go on vacation for the holidays. That means that you might be paying a much higher price and unable to get a seat on the specific flight you want to take,” Berg said.

“Most travelers will want to fly a few days before the holiday and return a few days after. That means prices are those dates are going to be extremely high, capacity is going to sell out, and airports are going to be chaotic,” she added.

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Calling it a bomb cyclone

Many people have come to call this phenomenon the bomb cyclone. Over the past few days, Google searches for bomb cyclones have piqued. The weather anomaly happens when the atmospheric pressure drops instantly, rapidly intensifying into a storm.

“Bombogenesis, a popular term used by meteorologists, occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone,” writes the National Ocean Service.

In just minutes, this could occur. And according to experts, this happens in several areas in the US, like the northern Plains, upper Midwest, and northern Rockies. Moreover, at least 24 states are bracing for the impending threat, which can cause flash-freeze on roads and coastal flooding.

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Airlines advise passengers

Airline experts have laid out some practical strategies that people could employ to counter the unprecedented cancelation and delay of flights during the holiday season. First, according to experts, passengers must check if airlines offer to rebook without penalty to save some dollars in the face of canceled and delayed schedules. Moreover, if unsure, travelers are encouraged to contact the DOT’s hotline to ask for the proper and legal ways to deal with flight cancelations.

“Scheduling the first flight of the day is a great way to avoid flight delays. Studies show that the first flights of the day are more likely to leave on time and arrive on time,” says CEO Jeff Klee.

“If an airline cancels a passenger’s flight or makes a significant change in the flight, regardless of the reason, airlines are required to provide a prompt refund to a ticketed passenger, including those with non-refundable tickets, should the passenger choose not to accept the alternative offered, such as rebooking on another flight. Learn more about your right to a refund,” says the DOT.

“The number one thing, and I cannot stress this enough, is that you must get to the airport early and well before your flight time. “If you are traveling with a lot of luggage or packages to check in, for example, arriving two hours early may not cut it,” adds Unifi Aviation CEO Gautam Thakkar

“The best way to ensure all luggage arrives safely to a traveler’s destination is to not check a bag. Packing light and carrying on is a great way to save money and have peace of mind that your luggage will make it to your destination with you,” added Klee.