Last week I found myself stranded in Colorado for nearly 48 hours. My airline—United—canceled all of its Boston-bound flights from Saturday evening until early Monday morning because of the blizzard in the Northeast. Here’s my problem with that: My flight was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, about an hour before the first flakes fell in Boston. And apparently I’m not the only one who’s ticked off.
”Our international carriers seem to better recognize our ability to stay open than our domestic carriers do,” Massachusetts Port Authority chairman John Quelch tells The Boston Globe. According to the Globe report, U.S.-based airlines like United canceled flights left and right while all three British Airways flights due to land during the storm did so pretty much on time. Logan’s runways reportedly remained clear throughout the lengthy storm.
In other words, the airport was accessible—many airlines just chose not to fly there. But there’s a good reason for that, according to American Airlines spokesperson Ned Raynolds: Many flight crews ”just couldn’t get their cars out of their driveways.” Personally, I don’t buy it. What were they doing on Saturday night before the snow even arrived?
The real reason probably has more to do with money than poor flight conditions. Flights were being disrupted by the storm, no doubt about it, but the rate at which they were canceled even before the snow arrived is pretty questionable. It’s more likely the airlines didn’t want to see their planes delayed in the snowy Northeast, instead forcing millions of travelers (like yours truly) to endure the inconvenience of premature cancellations and extended delays while blaming it on the airports.