Before the Christmas holiday, a powerful winter storm hit large swaths of the United States, bringing with it high winds, bitter cold, and snow. FedEx and United Parcel Service issued warnings that packages might not arrive this week.
In advance of what is anticipated to be one of the busiest travel seasons since before the pandemic, severe weather was already impeding air travel.
“FedEx Express experienced substantial disruptions at our Memphis and Indianapolis hubs last night due to severe winter weather that has been moving across the United States,” FedEx said Friday. It said packages set for delivery on Friday and Saturday, which is Christmas Eve, could be delayed across the country.
Severe weather is having an impact on the UPS Air and Ground network, including UPS hubs in Louisville, Kentucky, and Rockford, Illinois, according to UPS. Some delivery and pickup services in these areas will be impacted as a result.
Prior to Sunday’s Christmas Day, the warnings come at one of the busiest times for package delivery.
For thousands of travellers, it was difficult to return home for the holidays because of the severe winter storm. According to flight-tracking website FlightAware, airlines cancelled more than 7,000 flights and delayed more than 20,000 from Wednesday through Friday afternoon. The time frame includes some of the days that airlines anticipate will be the busiest of the holiday season. Flights were hampered by snow and sleet in the Pacific Northwest.
In cities from Chicago to Boston, federal forecasters issued warnings about hazardous driving conditions, dangerously low temperatures, and strong winds. On Saturday morning, the National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for parts of Florida, including Tampa and Orlando.
According to FlightAware data, 10% of U.S. airlines’ scheduled flights on Thursday were cancelled, and nearly half of those that took off on time were delayed, arriving 70 minutes on average later.
On Friday, more than 4,800 American flights were cancelled.
According to FlightAware, Southwest Airlines cancelled more than 900 flights on Friday, accounting for about a fifth of its total operations, while nearly 1,400 flights, or about a third of its schedule, were delayed. Alaska Airlines, based in Seattle, had nearly 400 flights cancelled, or about half of its schedule.
Due to the high demand during the holidays, Alaska warned travellers on Friday that it might take “multiple days” to rebook travellers.
“Our contact centers are experiencing long hold times as they try to help thousands of guests, and we’re working around the clock to reunite guests with their bags,” it said in an update. “We strongly encourage guests to reassess their travel plans due to limited availability.”
In order to prevent passengers, crews, and planes from becoming stranded at the airport during inclement weather, airlines try to cancel flights as far in advance as possible.
For more than 50 airports, American, Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska, Spirit, and other airlines waived change fees and fare differences if passengers can fly later.
Due to poor weather and a labor shortage, this year has been challenging for carriers, crews, and passengers alike. Airlines had hoped for a repeat of the comparatively smooth Thanksgiving travel period to cap off the challenging year.
When carriers release their quarterly financial results in January, or possibly earlier, they will likely provide investors with an update on the storm’s financial effects.
(Adapted from The-Sun.com)
Categories: Economy & Finance, Strategy, Uncategorized
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