Weather Delays May Cost Fliers $2.5B In Work Time

Source: Charisse Jones / USA Today

The storms and bitter cold that have pounded the U.S. and led to the delay or cancellation of thousands of flights this year have taken a financial toll not only on those in the business of flying but on those dependent on a plane ride to get them to the next business meeting.

Last month, 49,000 flights were canceled by U.S. carriers, while another 300,000 failed to take off on time, says masFlight, a data and software firm that focuses on air travel. Those scuttled and delayed flights disrupted the travel plans of roughly 30 million fliers and cost them over $2.5 billion in lost work time, and out-of-pocket costs for everything from meals to an extra night’s hotel stay, according to masFlight’s estimates.

“It’s one for the record books,” masFlight’s CEO Josh Marks said of January’s massive number of canceled and delayed flights. “Virtually every major hub from (the) eastern and central United States, with the exception of Miami, was impacted by the weather and caused a systemic impact we haven’t seen before.”

Airlines took a financial hit of $75 million to $150 million in January, as they de-iced frosty equipment and moved flight crews into place, among other expenses. And now February is off to a rough start, with thousands of flights already canceled in the face of back-to-back storms.

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