Flights Grounded For Days By Fog

November 15, 2009

in Weather Stories

Note: I’m flying from Roanoke, VA to Boston via Philadelphia. This particular Friday, every airport above the Mason-Dixon line is swamped by this huge winter storm system. as you can guess, nearly every flight into Roanoke gets canceled.

But that’s not the worst part. Because Roanoke has a regional airport, the most innocuous weather systems can shut the place down. And it just so happens that fog does it. And fog has covered the place for four days now, so that’s four days of backed up flights. My initial flight to Philadelphia (on the previous day) gets canceled. So I rebook for the following morning flight through La Guardia and stay overnight at a local hotel. Next morning, fog hasn’t lifted, so that flight gets canceled. I rebook again, this time through Charlotte (Charlotte was all clear). Better yet, there’s a plane sitting at a nearby airport ready to take us there. Now, we just had to wait for the fog to lift. Seven hours after the scheduled departed time, fog still hasn’t lifted. Flight gets canceled.

Now 15 minutes later, either by sheer dumb luck or God just felt like being funny, the fog lifts for good, and now the ticket agents are desperately trying to get the flight reinstated. After another hour and a half of waiting, we see our chariot of hope, a Dash-8, land.

From Charlotte, I get to Boston at midnight; later than I hoped, but at least I got out of Roanoke (where I might have needed to stay an extra day for the next available flight). It’s a good thing we flew out of Charlotte on a 757: because we flew right into a blizzard when we got into Boston.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugh November 16, 2009 at 12:30 am

Small regional airports are great when everything goes well. Ticketing, security, cutstomer service, in my experience tend to be nicer. The problems arise when ANYTHING goes wrong. There are so few choices on getting out of there, that you are severely limited in options. I have had similar things happen, and the sense of desperation and helplessness can drive you crazy.


John November 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Try living in AK and flying around…. the complain about weather problems…


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