June 24, 2010

Summer Thunderstorms: We can’t always see the writing on the wall

The arrival of summer is a mixed blessing for us. It means the kids (and teachers) are out of school, and our planes are full. We love it when our planes are full. But it also means the arrival of thunderstorm season, which we don’t love.

Picture that opening scene when the Man in Motion song plays in St. Elmo’s Fire. The tone is somber, the rain is pelting down in buckets.

You’re just a prisoner and you’re tryin’ to break free
I can see a new horizon underneath the blazin’ sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher

***

***

We’re no fan of the winter storm season, but for all the annoyance of ice storms, at least they tend to be predictable. When bad weather is coming, our operating philosophy is to be proactive. If we know we will need to cancel flights, we’d rather let the affected customers and crews know well in advance. It works out better for everyone that way.

But being proactive requires knowing what’s coming, and summer storms don’t always give us (or anyone for that matter) that courtesy. Thunderstorms are the unwelcome drop-in guests of the weather world. One minute, you’re enjoying a calm summer evening and the next, a thunderstorm shows up out of nowhere and ruins your night. If only you were given a heads up, you would have picked up more margarita mix.

To make matters even more challenging, it’s often hard to know when a thunderstorm is going away, or where it’s headed next. The safest way to deal with a thunderstorm and the turbulence it causes is to fly around it, meaning a storm pattern can block flight paths, arrival and departure routes, or entire airports depending on their location. They can be especially troublesome in our hometown of New York City, with Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and JFK airports all so close to one another, a large storm can quickly jam up the already-congested NYC airspace. An inconveniently located storm can severely slow or stop air travel to or from an airport.

Until we get our weather machine up and running à la Beijing 2008, or figure out how to contact Thor, we just need to keep avoiding thunderstorms.

For now, some summer flight disruptions are inevitable. If you’re one of our Customers whose travel plans are affected by thunderstorms this summer, we do feel for you — know that at such times we feel the pain as well. We will do our best to get everyone to their destination as quickly as possible, but with safety as our number one value, we’d rather grab a latte and wait a little longer to get you to that beautiful beach.

We can see a new horizon underneath the stormy sky. We’ll be where the Blue is jetting, higher and higher. We’ll be your plane in motion, and we have lots of pairs of wheels.

Posted by in Customers | Permalink | 5 Comments | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Leave a Reply