Winter is a rough time for the US travel industry all around. Business travel dries up and hotel occupancy falls. That’s not good for airlines either. Leisure travel is heavy around the holidays, and among passengers looking to escape the cold, but weather wreaks havoc across the system.
Even if you’re flying from Miami to Los Angeles your inbound aircraft might be coming from snowing Chicago O’Hare.
Snowstorms can wide out schedules for days — not just during the storms themselves, but beyond because even once airports begin operating again planes and crew are out of position. The system takes time to reboot.
Delta’s plan this winter includes some extreme measures to get ready including asking employees to sleep on planes. It means crew are already in the airport instead of traversing congested roads. And apparently they’ll get to sleep in business class, not coach.
This is certainly a better idea than employees sleeping on the floor in the airport.
They’re also rolling out new de-icing trucks in Atlanta, and monitoring progress electronically instead of with handwritten notes. For all of Delta’s operational strengths IT just hasn’t been one of them.
Ironically American Airlines has to tell employees not to sleep in planes and British Airways needs to tell employees not to do other things.