Record number of cancelled flights will cost economy billions

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Becky Mungo had big plans to attend the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans this weekend.

Her friends made it - with her tickets.  But Mungo's flight from Washington, D.C., was cancelled Thursday and she's still not there.

"I'm more frustrated," she said. "I'm hungry. I did have a cup of coffee but you know, I just want to get there."

The number of flight cancellations this winter is the highest in 25 years. More than 1,600 flights were cancelled this week and passengers are feeling it.

 

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The number of flight cancellations this winter is the highest in 25 years
CBS News
 

On average cancelled flights add 18 additional hours in travel time and more than $37 dollars per hour, per passenger, in added costs to rebook flights, hotels, rental cars and meals. 

According to masFlight CEO Joshua Marks the economic impact is profound.

"Time that you're spending waiting for a flight, or sitting at the airport is time that you're not spending working or spending money at your destination on tourism or hotels, and that's going to have a multi-billion dollar impact on the economy during the first quarter," he said.

 

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Time wasted waiting for flights will cost the economy billions
CBS News
 

The airlines are cancelling more flights in advance than ever before because of the weather, underestimating the effect of new pilot rest rules limiting flying time to eight or nine hours and regulations preventing airlines from keeping passengers on the tarmac longer than three hours. 

An industry group told us: The storms across the South and Northeast impacted the airlines ability to safely operate their full schedules.

 

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The airlines are cancelling more flights in advance than ever before
CBS News
 

"They can't de-ice the airplane in time to get it off the ground," Marks said. "The airplane comes back to the gate and cancels.  That's horrible for everybody."

It's been an expensive travel nightmare for Mungo, who's missing out on something that may be priceless: creating new memories with her friends.

"I think once I get there, I will be OK," she said.  "It will be like, I'm here, let's have fun." 

With higher fuel costs airlines have been cutting flights that aren't making money. That means fewer options for travelers when there are cancellations.




  • Jeff Pegues

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