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Old 12-24-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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Default How much snow does it usually take to delay a flight?

I do 99% of my traveling in the summer, so flying in the winter is an unusual thing for me. Would 1 or 2 inches of snow typically be enough to delay a flight, or would it probably have to be more than that?
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:59 AM
 
Location: North Metro Atlanta
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Its where how they are able to handle the de-iceing, plowing,
The type of snow Heavy wet snow vs dry snow.
Number of runways/winds. More runway they have they can close one down and plow it, with out effecting the traffic to much. Then move the traffic over to newly plow'ed runway and then work on next ones.

Snow in Atlanta bad, 1 - 2" will almost shut down the airport
Snow in Denver, or MSP, 1 -2" will delay thing somewhat but they have 10x the equipment, and run the plane thru the de-iceing, and can keep runway cleared. Delays are not to bad..
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:54 PM
 
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It depend son the airport. In Charlotte, yes, that little could cause major delays. In Syracuse they'd laugh themselves silly at the notion of a delay for a couple inches of snow.

That said, the entire system can back up. Planes can't fly without crews. Crews have a limited number of hours they can legally work without rest, so even if they are in the airport, they might not be able to staff the flight because they'd go over the legal limit. There's so much more to it than the weather outside at your airport.
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:22 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
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It also depends on the temperature. You can have 2" of snow at 34F, and that won't cause many problems with de-icing as it would at 25F. Your bigger proble will be getting in and out of the airport if the roads get icy and clogged up with people going slow.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Trumbull/Danbury
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Some airports (Chicago, Denver) are better equipped to handle snow and ice then others (Atlanta, Dallas). However, it depends how much snow and ice at a specific airport.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:12 PM
 
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Freezing rain is a death bell for air travel. Basically means the airport is shut down. If you see forecasted freezing rain just stay home you aren't going anywhere...
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:50 PM
 
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not just snow also de- icing the plane and if they are taxi-ing sometimes they have to be de-iced 2x which ads to the dlay
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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As others have stated when you are talking about smaller amounts of snow like 1-3 inches it really depends on where it is snowing. If its Alaska, Canada or Minneapolis 1-3 inches might not give more than a 15 min delay or no delay at all. If it snows 2 inches in Dallas or Atlanta you've got big problems.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:51 AM
 
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We had numerous flights cancelled or significantly delayed here in Orlando over the past couple of days. We had WIND on Wednesday which can cause as much chaos as rain/snow/sleet and then the entire system was a mess yesterday, so even though we had beautiful weather, the planes can't take off from here if they don't get here to begin with.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Trumbull/Danbury
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And also, even with a little snow, if another airport has significant delays, it just messes up the whole country.
Let's take the regional jets for example who have 5 or 6 scheduled flights a day. Let's say 3 of those 6 were arriving/departing from an airport with minimum 90 minute departure delays/60 minute arrival delays. if your on the last of the flights, even if it's sunny with not a cloud in the sky, from the backlog of the delay suffered earlier in the day you could be looking at a 2+ hour delay anyway
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