Eight Pipes-A-Bursting: Christmas In Airports

Flights continue to be cancelled nationwide, with more flights cancelled in the U.S. than anywhere else (even China) and more Southwest flights cancelled than any other airline.

Extreme winter weather is the proximate cause. In some cases this has been exacerbated by an airline’s ability to respond to that weather (sufficient staff and systems for recovery). Here’s the email that Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan sent internally to employees on Christmas evening:

It’s not just airlines that were struggling. Airports were melting down as well. Dallas – Fort Worth couldn’t deliver bags in some of its terminals. And physical plants were buckling under the strain all over the country.

Pipes burst at Atlanta airport’s gate E34. Meanwhile it was different pipes bursting which flooded this Atlanta Sky Club:

Pipes burst near terminal 2 baggage claim in St. Louis. And in Newark, air traffic control had to be evacuated because of a burst pipe.

.@EWRairport ground delay program: 15 arrival rate with an average delay of 223 minutes.

"An apparent evacuation of a control tower at Newark Liberty International Airport on Christmas Eve due to a burst water pipe…" https://t.co/8Sz8WLowjS pic.twitter.com/erH20A5HVQ

— Ross Feinstein (@RossFeinstein) December 25, 2022

In Texas we faced an extreme weather event, and as a result Houston Intercontinental airport wasn’t spared (HT: Josh B.):

IAH: pic.twitter.com/ooPwDWlIeB

— gary leff (@garyleff) December 26, 2022

There are knock-on effects to flooding at gates. If passengers can’t reach gates, the gates can’t be used. Fewer gates mean longer waits for a gate when planes land, and delayed flights mean that too. Pipes can be shut off, and water cleaned up. But damage to furniture and drying takes longer to address.

For all of the inconvenience at airports, flight cancellations are going to have enduring effects as well. First, full flights and cancelled flights mean that it’s going to take several days for passengers to get where they were trying to go. There aren’t a lot of extra seats to accommodate them. And second, planes aren’t where they’re supposed to be to operate the flights they were scheduled for over the next several days. Crew are out of position as well. It takes times to recover an operation, and the Southwest Airlines CEO calls out their technology as inadequate for the task.

Eight Pipes-a-Bursting could become Eight-Days-Of-Cancel. Or even twelve days. Here are the 12 Days Of Cancelled Flights Christmas, courtesy ChatGPT:

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two rescheduled flights and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Seven calls to customer service, six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight hours on hold, seven calls to customer service, six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine different gate changes, eight hours on hold, seven calls to customer service, six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Ten lost luggage claims, nine different gate changes, eight hours on hold, seven calls to customer service, six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven cancelled flights total, ten lost luggage claims, nine different gate changes, eight hours on hold, seven calls to customer service, six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve months of frustration, eleven cancelled flights total, ten lost luggage claims, nine different gate changes, eight hours on hold, seven calls to customer service, six vouchers for food, five days of waiting, four hours at the gate, three delayed departures, two rescheduled flights, and a cancelled flight to the Caribbean Sea

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