Why did the blizzard cause so many cancellations and delays?
U.S. airlines have downsized their fleets as a response to soft travel demand over the past few years. Older, less fuel-efficient aircraft have been taken out of service so "extra" aircraft are not available if storms hit. To avoid having aircraft and crews snowed in, airlines cancel flights to areas where heavy snow is falling, redirecting pilots and crew to other parts of the country. When the weather clears, it takes time to reposition the aircraft and crews. In addition, U.S. flights are about 80 percent full (on average). During the holidays, planes are nearly at 100 percent capacity, however. If severe weather strikes, rebooking flights is challenging because seats are at a premium.
Tips for winter travel
When traveling during the winter months (and other times of the year), consider these suggestions:
- Register for travel alerts from your airline or online travel site. These alerts provide the latest information about schedule or gate changes, delays, cancellations, and other important news.
- Understand your airline's policies for cancellations, delays, refunds, and amenities offered to stranded passengers. Meal or hotel vouchers may not be provided if the cause is force majeure (an unusual
or unforeseeable circumstance beyond the airline's control).
- Monitor weather conditions for 24 hours before flights. Be aware of conditions in Indianapolis, your final destination, and connecting cities in between.
- If severe weather is forecast, check the status of flights before leaving home by contacting your airline or visiting the airport's Web site.
- Flight data displayed on indianapolisairport.com is updated every 60 seconds, covering both arriving and departing flights for a 12-hour time window. It shows scheduled and estimated departure times along with the status of each flight (i.e., departed, delayed, cancelled, on time, or subject to other changes for which passengers are advised to contact their airline).
- Allow extra time to reach the airport when driving conditions are hampered by snow and ice.