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Transportation Stats

A Real-Time Map of Travelers Suffering From the Thanksgiving Storm 88

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the raining-turkeys dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Travel officials expect about 3 million people to venture by plane to their turkey dinner, and already hundreds of flights have been canceled and thousands delayed—including more than a third of routes at the major airport hub in Dallas, which will have a ripple effect down through the airline system as thwarted passengers try to hop on other flights. This inspired flight-tracking site FlightAware to develop an interactive 'Misery Map' visualizing flight statuses in real-time and the megastorm traversing the country simultaneously. Because who doesn't love a little data viz schadenfreude?"
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A Real-Time Map of Travelers Suffering From the Thanksgiving Storm

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  • by MonkeyDancer (797523) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:14PM (#45538999)

    Missing Option: TSA Misery Map

    • It's called a depth chart; scaled to inches.

    • I don't have a TSA problem.. I fly twice a week every week.. I get to go to the front of the line at some airports, or have my own line at others.. security never takes me more than 10 minutes, and that's at BWI.

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      I've flown four times this year, with a fifth flight next week (way above my average to date, was lucky to fly once every five years until now....) and I haven't had any problems with TSA. Part of that is probably the small cities I'm flying out of (*), or maybe they're just polite because I'm usually checking a firearm (**). The millimeter wave scanning machines are pretty neat to see in action, from a techie point of view (not going into the politics of it....), and I laughed my ass off when I discovere

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I've not flown with a handgun since 9/11. What's the process now? Before I had to fill out a piece of paper to put in my luggage that would notify any searchers that the handgun was declared, and when answering the "do you have any firearms" question, of course I had to say "yes". There were some follow-up questions about the case it was in and ammunition. But the bags went into the regular pool of bags from there.

        As for the regular bag inspections, it always looks like they open the bag just enough t
        • I've not flown with a handgun since 9/11. What's the process now?

          That depends on what kinds of snakes will be on the plane.

          • by Shakrai (717556) *

            That doesn't change the firearm you carry, just the ammunition. ;)

            Think shotshells instead of JHP.... they're actually a lot of fun to play with, .45 shotshells + wasp nests = good times for all (except those with six legs and stingers...)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556) *

          It needs to be unloaded (duh) and secured in a hard sided opaque case that's kept within your checked baggage. I use the lockbox that I bought for my car, it's just a cheap little metal box that locks, and they've never complained about it. They may also want you to have lockable luggage, it's not required by the regulations, but the one time I flew without a lock they made a small stink about it and "secured" the luggage with cable ties.

          Not much to it once you've met the basic requirements. You declare

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      TSA Misery Map

      Just add the green and red together and multiple by anal probe.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:22PM (#45539107)

    I love these clever UIs that maximize visual cues. I would like to see a 3rd pie slice separating delays and cancellations, though.

    • The right side of the screen with the bar chart has a | separating delays and cancellations.

    • by nullchar (446050)

      This is d3.js [d3js.org] at it's finest.

      The code is very readable with decent comments like:
      // This is O(n^2), but arrays are small, so whatever
      function merge_destinations(a, b) { ...

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:27PM (#45539161)
    If you want to get to a place on time at the same time as everyone else, flying will not do it. Either leave before most people do or take other means of transportation. You'd have to be a complete idiot or new to flying to not know that.
    • by MoonFog (586818) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:32PM (#45539221)
      For most people that's not an option though, since they leave as soon as they can after work and for many there are no alternatives to airplanes. Basically, they're idiots for moving so far away from their families they can't get to them in a short drive and idiots for not getting themselves jobs where they have a flexible schedule? Either that or you have an incredible naive way of looking at the world.
      • by coder111 (912060) <coder.rrmail@com> on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:49PM (#45539407)
        Even though time and time again studies show that well rested employees are more productive, people in USA keep working longer hours with fewer holidays. And that is the reason for 80% of those last minute flights.

        Why cannot the state mandate that each employee gets X days of holiday per year guaranteed, and is forced to take them? That's how it works in quite a few countries in Europe.

        --Coder
        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          Are you seriously trying to take a discussion about a mostly technical issue (airline scheduling) and turn it into a political argument?

        • our masters would not allow it.

          now, stfu and gbtw.

        • by erice (13380)

          Why cannot the state mandate that each employee gets X days of holiday per year guaranteed, and is forced to take them? That's how it works in quite a few countries in Europe.

          Forced employees to take them or forced the employers to allow employees to take them?

          Employers would like the former. It removes the PTO from the books quickly and prevents employees from taking enough time off in one block to impact the work. And by making it law, there would be no risk of good employees jumping ship for a better deal.

          "X" would also likely be compromised into something barely more than companies typically give now. Remember, this is the country that translated "healthcare for everyone"

        • They can. The real question is, why haven't they?
      • by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:59PM (#45539513)

        I don't know that I'd go so far as to call them "idiots", however, it surprises me that so many people practically kill themselves to get somewhere hundreds of miles away merely to spend a day with their extended family. In my experience, it's something that is highly overrated, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. I don't feel the need to go into detail, but it's virtually impossible this year for me to be with family, and I am okay with that. Thanksgiving, like Christmas, has become a holiday filled with obligation and guilt. You MUST be home for Thanksgiving. You MUST buy presents for everyone. It is no wonder that for some, the holidays are nothing more than a time of stress, anger, disappointment and depression.

         

      • Or some of us are consultants who get put on certain projects for a reason and a particular skillset.

        Working away from home has plenty of advantages, financial for example, I expense everything Mon through Friday, hotel, airfare, meals, transport. That saves me around $250 to $300 a week over living at home where parking in DC/VA is stupid expensive, as is gas, and my 2 hour each way commute to do 20 fucking miles.

        Also I don't have to deal with changing diapers during the week, but don't tell my wife that

    • That applies to driving too, if you're in a big city. Sometimes you'd be better off walking to your destination.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And get stuck in a 4-hour traffic backup during a snowstorm in the mountains? Yeah, that will do. Remember that airplanes can fly over storms, while motorists must drive through them.

      Many parts of the interstate highway system exceed capacity during the Thanksgiving getaway days, leaving travelers to seek other options.

    • by mythosaz (572040) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @12:47PM (#45539385)

      The documentary, Planes Trains and Automobiles has a great deal of information on the subject.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      If you want to get to a place on time at the same time as everyone else, flying will not do it. Either leave before most people do or take other means of transportation. You'd have to be a complete idiot or new to flying to not know that.

      Well, other than the dangers of flying into the storm, flying is a perfectly valid option. Of course, flying commercially will probably lead to pain, but there's nothing wrong with being a pilot and flying your own plane to your destination. (And given there are generally a

      • by Shakrai (717556) *

        there's nothing wrong with being a pilot and flying your own plane

        Ah, it must be nice to have money....

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          And an odd sense of safety, flying a small plane in conditions that are delaying the big ones.
          • Being grounded is perfectly safe. Besides, I'd rather hang out at an FBO than a commercial airline terminal most days.....

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              And gets you where you are going no faster than "canceled" by the major carriers, which is what prompted this article.
            • by Shakrai (717556) *

              Are you kidding? Airport terminals are the bomb. Where else can you go and socialize with people that you'll never have to see again if you (or they) say something stupid? On my last lengthy weather delay I met the following people at the bar, in this order: A homosexual sex therapist, an immigrant from Georgia, a hyperactive porn star who was passing around cell phone photos, a retired Secret Service agent who worked on GWB's detail, and a drunk guy who was flying to Seattle to interview with Microsoft.

              • A homosexual sex therapist, an immigrant from Georgia, a hyperactive porn star who was passing around cell phone photos, a retired Secret Service agent who worked on GWB's detail, and a drunk guy who was flying to Seattle to interview with Microsoft.

                Ah, whatever floats your boat there ... I guess I just like good coffee and poking around in cockpits of Gulfstream V's. But do let us all know how this works out. At the very least, it sounds like the beginning of a good reality TV show plot. We could call it "Airport" or something.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Either leave before most people do or take other means of transportation.

      Do you see the logical fallacy that I see?

      i.e. If everyone's doing it, everyone should just do something else instead.

      More seriously though it may just not be an option for many people, excessive travel time by driving, unreliable vehicle, etc.
      Many people have trouble affording a plane ticket at all and may not have the job security to ask for additional days off, my Dad is from Pennsylvania (I grew up in Texas), I think he only traveled back once, when his brother died.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        And I saw it as a chance for airline QoS. The delays are often because they must space out the planes differently in poor weather. Planes are still flying, but are slowed down when visibility is impaired. So, rather than a FIFO queue, why not a QoS system? Buy a ticket on a "priority" flight, and it will be within 30 minutes of on-time, regardless of weather or mechanical fault (having spare airplanes to put the people on, should a problem arise). They'd have to make special deals with airports to jump
        • You're getting dangerously close to wanting a leased jet. A really nice leased jet from a company that has lots of capacity and infrastructure. Actually, you're getting close to wanting the Air Force to haul you around.

          Goodluckwiththat.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            I've flown in leased jets before. There are a number of travel agencies that charter a commercial jet from the US to Mexico (Cancun being popular), or Anchorage to HI. Yes, similar to that. And they sell seats on a leased jet. So, why can't the major carriers combine that common practice with a priority status with the airports? Should be easy, just a matter of money.
            • It would be easy. It is a matter of money. But obviously it hasn't taken off as a business practice. Hell, standing people up like cordword works (Ryan Air) but luxury is a harder sell. Just look at First Class these days (on US airlines anyway) - very few people have bought actual FC tickets. It's largely the $50 upgrade / Frequent Flier / Deadheading crew. If the airlines can't get paying customers to fork over a couple of hundred dollars, it doesn't look like charging a couple thousand extra (which

              • by AK Marc (707885)
                Yes, nobody would ever take a risk. I don't think it would cost as much as you think. I've been on "backup" planes before. They wheeled one out of the hangar to put us on. All they need to do is schedule better and make the arrangements with the airport. One backup plane for 100 flights would add $10 to a $1000 ticket. I'm not sure it's as big of an impact as you think. Especially if they use other routes for backup (the "premium" flight to Chicago is down, so the "low-class" flight is canceled for m
        • (having spare airplanes to put the people on, should a problem arise)

          So you put a 'spare airplane' in Fargo, Sioux City, Spokane, Sacramento, Little Rock, Miwaukee... Sure, that would work.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            You don't offer the service from Boise. The complaints on this particular storm were about DFW and NYC. Do you think they could handle sparing? I know for a fact they have some sparing in DFW. I've been on a "spare" twice flying out of there. They just don't make it a service and quantify it.
    • As another posted noted, some of us work in places far from our families. Staffing requirements do not always allow for people to just randomly leave in the middle of the short work week. Myself included. I have a 7pm flight tonight.. hoping it is not cancelled, but if it is, well, my only option is a 10 hour drive (which I have a rental car already reserved for just in case)

    • by Pope (17780)

      I don't get American's love for travelling home for Thanksgiving, considering Christmas is only a month away.

  • This 'megastorm' was a non-event in Dallas. Yes, they messed with flights, but because of the de-icing and general paranoia, rather than any actual weather.

    It's an absolutely beautiful, if cold, day outside my window today.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Dallas was always screwed up with icing. They didn't build enough de-icing capacity in, probably because in "normal" weather, they never need it, unlike some other places. Cost a lot more than it would have cost to put the right system in in the first place, but is "billions" to fix now. There were proposals under consideration when I moved away 10+ years ago, but I guess nothing was ever done, not that I expected it.
  • Every time I have flown through New England, or had a plane come there, there has always been a delay. On the other hand, flying out of or through other places there is seldom a delay. So what we need is a ratio of number flight that are delayed now to flights to flights that are normally delayed. I think for some places in might look worse, but for other it is just status quo
  • The news was calling for doom and destruction but it rained all night and maybe had a quarter inch of slush on my car by morning. The temps stayed up and I didn't even have to shovel.

  • by JTsyo (1338447) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @01:19PM (#45539725) Journal
    Careful on what you click on.
  • If someone sneezes, a flight gets delayed in Atlanta... I do whatever I can to avoid flying through that airport.
  • Hey, my state isn't even on that map you insensitive clods!

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