Severe Weather Disrupting Travel

George’s Point of View

The weather in Los Angeles may be a gray, drizzly 56 degrees today, but much of Europe is suffering travel-suspending ice and snow. Snow on the forecast, snowplows on the runways, chains on the cars and weather delays on the calendar. And who is embroiled in all of this? Pilgrims and passengers, wayfarers, tourists and businessmen, travelers all.

And these brave folk out going where many have gone before are complaining about "unnecessary" delays in their travel plans. They are getting all wound up.

Listen, when you fly in winter, delays are going to happen. Need I say it is better to be safe than sorry? Believe me, I know. And my feet have been in your cold, wet, uncomfortable, transient shoes all too many times. But waiting is better than crashing.

I understand firsthand the griping of the thousands of travelers stranded overnight in hundreds of airports all over the world. Truly, I feel your pain. But it reminds me of butter. No, it reminds me of chiffon. (Forgettable margarine. Memorable cosmos.)

Remember that 1970's commercial....

If you're going to try to fly when there's five inches of snow on the runway at Heathrow, delays are going to happen. You're going to get a message like "Due to the continuing bad weather, further flight delays and cancellations are likely over the coming days and beyond. We are operating a reduced schedule until 06:00 on Wednesday, 22 December."

If you're going to take off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in December, delays will happen. Look at Rouen in the snow. (Livecam) Airports are chaotic enough around the holidays but when you throw this kind of weather in the mix, you're relying on the airport who is relying on every contractor they can get their hands on to get runways clear in an uphill battle; and you're relying on planes that don't function at their best in freezing conditions; and you're relying on an industry that is hamstrung by untenable weather.

This weather will pass. Enjoy the scenery. Fly safe. I hope that there will be one less aviation-related accident for me to hear about.

So where ever you are this holiday season, take your cup of cocoa with marshmallows, or coffee, or whatever is your cuppa tea, and cozy up somewhere warm. You can't fool (with) Mother Nature. It's going to be a long winter.

Originally Posted by George Hatcher Monday, December 20, 2010