I mentioned earlier today that my flight to Austin did not go smoothly. The plane actually took off on time and landed a few minutes ahead of schedule, and then...stopped. We wound up sitting on the apron for over two hours because of lightning near the airport. (Apparently the ground crew didn't want to get electrocuted. Seems legit.) Even after we got off the plane, our bags didn't for several hours.
Just look at this fun excerpt from the FlightAware track log:
But, as Cranky Flier reports, flying kind of sucks all over these days:
We are just about a month into the summer, and so it’s time to do a little temperature check. How are things going? The answer is… not well. Yes, there are delays and cancellations during any summer, and there’s plenty of labor vs management mudslinging as well. But the numbers themselves show that things are much worse than even a normally-frustrating summer.
I’ve tried to think of the best way put this into context, so let me put it this way. Across these 9 airlines, 3.1% of flights have been canceled from June 1 – 27. If we look at June 2019, the rate was 2.02%. That doesn’t sound like a lot, so let’s make it more tangible.
These nine airlines canceled 18,508 flights in the first 27 days of June. If they had “only” canceled 2.02% of flights as they did in June 2019, then 13,120 flights would have been canceled. In other words, the airlines have canceled more than 40 percent more flights this June simply because they couldn’t run an operation as well as they did in June 2019. And “well” was already a misnomer back then.
The question is… what the hell is going on to make this such a miserable experience for so many people? And the answer is… it’s all going bad.
Boy, I just can't wait to fly home Thursday...
The most interesting (to me) story this afternoon comes from Cranky Flier: American Airlines has a new software tool that can, under specific circumstances, reduce weather-related cancellations by 80% and missed connections by 60%. Nice.
In other news:
And finally, as Lake Michigan water levels decline from their record levels in 2020, the receding water has exposed all the work the city and state need to do to repair our beaches.
Today I learned about the Zoot Suit Riots that began 79 years ago today in Los Angeles. Wow, humans suck.
In other revelations:
Finally, it's 22°C and sunny outside, which mitigates against me staying in my office much longer...
And finally, when I left for San Francisco on Saturday morning, it was 10°C and sunny. Here we are about 76 hours later and it's 30°C. We really don't have spring or fall here some years.
Just a few:
Finally, James Fallows rolls his eyes at the annual White House Correspondent's Dinner, but praises Trevor Noah's closing statement.
Some odd stories, some scary stories:
- Microsoft has released a report on Russia's ongoing cyber attacks against Ukraine.
- Contra David Ignatius, military policy experts Dr Jack Watling and Nick Reynolds call Russia's invasion of Ukraine "the death throes of imperial delusion" and warn that Putin will likely escalate the conflict rather than face humiliation.
- Russia historian Tom Nichols puts all of this together and worries about World War III—"not the rhetorical World War III loosely talked about now, but the real thing, including the deaths of hundreds of millions."
- The Saudi Royal Family finally returned a Boeing 747-8 to the manufacturer after it had sat on the apron in Basel, Switzerland, for 10 years. The plane has 42 hours on it but may have to be scrapped.
- In other B747 news, Boeing admitted to $1.1 billion in cost overruns for the four planes the Air Force ordered to carry the President. Boeing will eat the costs after making a deal with the XPOTUS for a fixed-price contract. The Air Force should receive the planes in 2026.
- George Will thinks we should amend the Constitution to prohibit people who have served as US Senators from becoming President. He argues that too many senators use their office to run for president. But since World War II, all but one former senator who became president came from the Democratic Party (Biden, Obama, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Truman), so I'm not sure it would pass the States even if it didn't also have to pass the Senate.
Finally, DuPage County officials have demolished a partially-completed mansion that sat vacant for 10 years, to the eternal sadness of its owner.
Winter officially has another week and a half to run, but we got a real taste of spring in all its ridiculousness this week:
Yesterday the temperature got up to 13°C at O'Hare, up from the -10°C we had Monday morning. It's heading down to -11°C overnight, then up to 7°C on Sunday. (Just wait until I post the graph for the entire week.)
Welcome to Chicago in spring.
- Republicans in New York and Illinois have a moan about the redistricting processes in those states that will result in heavily-skewed Democratic legislatures and House delegations, even while acknowledging that we've agreed to put down our gun when they put down theirs.
- The pillowmonger we all know and love, who rails on about unauthorized, disease-carrying immigrants to our country, got all pissy with Canada when they kicked him out for being an unauthorized, disease-carrying immigrant.
- The pillowmonger's friend the XPOTUS had a no good, very bad, rotten week that he totally deserved.
- Voters roundly ejected the president and vice president (plus another divisive member) of the San Francisco School Board that the Editor in Chief of Mother Jones says was for incompetence, not politics.
- Alaska Airlines has a new subscription deal for California that could become more common with other carriers if it takes off.
Finally, if you're in Chicago and want to hear a free Apollo Chorus concert tonight, leave a note in the comments. We perform at Harris Theater at 8pm.
And wasn't it just Tuesday?
I got an email from HR this morning reminding me that I'm approaching the upper limit for paid time off in my bank. I thought, what with taking half a day here and there over the past year, I might not already have almost a month of vacation to use. Cue searching on VRBO for places Cassie and I might like.
Meanwhile, back in the present:
But back to vacation: how cute is this place?
One hundred years ago today, President Warren Harding installed a "Radio Phone" in his White House office. As the Tribune reported, "Navy radio experts commenced work to-day installing the latest scientific means of communication."
Flash forward to now:
- Margaret Talbot argues that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whom nobody ever elected to public office, is playing a long game to bring her right-wing Catholic ideology into the mainstream—or, at least, to enshrine it in the law.
- Times columnist Margaret Renkl, writing from Nashville, argues that Tennessee has bigger problems than just one school board banning Maus.
- Ultra-low-cost airlines Spirit and Frontier have merged, after years of dating and several previous feints toward the altar.
- The oldest pub in the United Kingdom will close because of lost revenue during the pandemic, according to its current proprietor. The landlord hopes the pub, first opened in 793 CE, reopens soon.
And finally, Max Boot asks, why does anyone care what Ben, Jerry, Whoopi, or Joe have to say? In my conversation just now with the reader who sent me the link, I pointed out that people have had about the same reaction to every new communications technology back to the printing press. (Probably back to the stone tablet, if you really think about it.)
We got about 150 mm of snow this morning, thanks to the giant lake a short walk from my house. This made getting Cassie to school a slog (she loved it, though), and made me seriously worry about my flight this evening.
Now it's sunny, and the roads are clear.
If only I knew how many parking spaces O'Hare had right now...