I'm a private weather industry business leader with 18 years of applied operations, sales and marketing experience. 

Flights canceled due to pretty colors

Name That Storm
Many of you have seen this map or a map similar to it in the past 24 hours. Accompanying the map were likely strong words like "snarled" or "crippled" or some other media-induced synonym describing how travel will be affected. And if you're a Weather Channel follower, you've heard this storm called "Cato" thanks to their clever marketing team.

All The Pretty Colors
Fortunately, 90% of Thanksgiving-related travel is by personal vehicle as 340 flights have already been canceled in the U.S. as of this post due to current and forecast winter weather conditions. Those who are flying and plan to arrive or connect in the Northeast will either not make their destination or have a long day ahead of them.

Preemptive cancellation of flights by U.S. carriers in recent years when poor weather is forecast has increased significantly. Some of Wednesday's cancellations came as early as Monday morning, well before the first flakes flew and during what will be the peak of the Thanksgiving travel rush. There's no doubt that more pressure than ever is applied to weather forecast models and those who interpret them. 

Off Topic Travel Stats
While crowded airports receive heavy media attention on Wednesday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, 9 out of 10 travelers use personal means of transportation. Here are some other Thanksgiving travel stats:

  • The average Thanksgiving long-distance trip length is 214 miles
  • The average age of Thanksgiving travelers is just under 34 years
  • At Thanksgiving there is a nearly even split between males and female travelers
  • About half of holiday travelers make same-day trips without spending a night away
  • Long-distance travelers who make overnight trips at Thanksgiving spend an average of just under three nights away

Regardless how you travel on this weekend, I hope you get to where you're going safely and have a happy holiday.

Fair Game...

Strap Your Skis On! The Colorado Edition.