The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Enlightened times, enlightened clients

My team are all working from home today because we have the technology to do so, and we saw this:

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM THIS MORNING TO MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL DEVELOP DURING THE MID TO LATE MORNING HOURS AND CONTINUE THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON...ENDING TONIGHT. THE HEAVIEST SNOWFALL WILL OCCUR THIS AFTERNOON.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 5 TO 8 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED.

* HAZARDS...SNOW WILL FALL HEAVILY AT TIMES RESULTING IN REDUCED VISIBILITIES AND SNOWFALL RATES OF AROUND ONE INCH PER HOUR AT TIMES.

* IMPACTS...ACCUMULATING SNOW WILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED TRAVEL TIMES...RESULTING IN A PARTICULARLY TREACHEROUS COMMUTE THIS AFTERNOON. IN ADDITION...VERY COLD TEMPERATURES IN THE TEENS WILL MAKE SALT LESS EFFECTIVE AND COMBINE WITH HEAVY SNOWFALL RATES TO MAKE IT HARDER FOR ROAD CREWS TO KEEP ROADS CLEAR OF SNOW AND ICE. THE SNOW WILL ALSO RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT DISRUPTIONS TO AIR TRAVEL AS WELL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

Parker is also working from home. If he could read, his attitude toward the weather warning might differ slightly from mine. On the other hand, we're both in the same room, which I think makes him happy anyway.

Updates and photos as events warrant.

Hooking up, American-style

Rumors abound that American Airlines has two suitors, one we knew about and one we didn't. Since filing for bankruptcy in November, industry analysts have wondered with whom they would merge, twice-spurned USAirways the most obvious choice.

The new rumors, however, have Delta puttin' the moves on, which, if consummated, would make Delmerican (Amelta?) the world's largest airline and put the oneworld alliance in existential peril:

Since I'm generally bullish on the airline alliances (and competition between them), I'd tend to think the US Airways/oneworld route would be better for competition, and thus better for travellers. But the real question is what American government regulators and anti-trust authorities think about the whole idea. A Delta-American merger would produce a company that would control a huge chunk of domestic market—29.6%, double the share of its next biggest competitor, Southwest Airlines.

Another issue is whether Delta's supposed interest in acquiring American is serious or simply an effort to cause problems for US Airways and oneworld. It's hard to imagine that Delta's executives aren't aware of the regulatory problems a merger with American might face. Whatever happens, this struggle will be interesting to watch.

Blogger Matt Yglesias argues that an American/USAirways merger would be more patriotic, and "would give the United States three really big global carriers—United, Delta, and US/American—with the merged entity ideally joining the OneWorld alliance so we'd have strong representation in each of the three major global airline alliances." And it would keep Chicago one of aviation's world capitals, since a merger with Delta would encourage shutting either O'Hare or Delta's nearby hub in Detroit.

With this many rumors circulating, I expect we'll hear something definitive relatively soon.

Had to happen sometime

The first significant snowfall of Winter 2012 has started:

The National Weather Service says:

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM CST /10 AM EST/ THIS MORNING TO 9 AM CST /10 AM EST/ FRIDAY.

* TIMING...SNOW WILL BEGIN BETWEEN 9 AM AND NOON AND CONTINUE INTO FRIDAY MORNING.

* ACCUMULATIONS...SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 100 TO 200 MM ARE LIKELY WITH LOCALLY HEAVIER TOTALS POSSIBLE.

* HAZARDS...IN ADDITION TO THE FALLING SNOW...WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 25 TO 40 KM/H WITH GUSTS UP TO 55 KM/H BY AFTERNOON RESULTING IN BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW...ESPECIALLY IN OUTLYING AND OPEN AREAS. WIND CHILLS ARE ALSO FORECAST TO DROP TO -17°C TO -24°C BY FRIDAY MORNING.

* IMPACTS...ACCUMULATING SNOW AND REDUCED VISIBILITIES WILL LIKELY MAKE TRAVEL DIFFICULT FOR THE AFTERNOON COMMUTE TODAY...WITH TRAVEL CONDITIONS BECOMING TREACHEROUS AND EVEN DANGEROUS IN OPEN AREAS TONIGHT INTO EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.

As bad as that sounds, the NWS also predicts it'll be gone by Monday.

Hey, it's Chicago in January, and yesterday it hit 12°C. One or two days of snowfall is no big deal.

More photos as the snow accumulates...

American ends Chicago to Delhi flights

Apparently the flight was unprofitable:

"The historical financial performance of the route and its future outlook given the global economic climate and high oil prices has resulted in a decision by American to cancel its New Delhi-Chicago O'Hare service," the airline said in a memo to American managers.

The last flight to leave for India from Chicago will be on Feb. 28, while the last return flight from India to Chicago will be on March 1.

The flight from New Delhi to Chicago had been problematic during winter and early spring. The flight would often arrive at O'Hare earlier than 5 a.m., the time that O'Hare's customs agents start work, stranding passengers on the plane for an additional half hour to an hour.

Oddly, AA292 is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 5am, so the possibility of it arriving before Customs opened must have occurred to someone. This unfortunate schedule probably comes from Delhi's odd penchant for launching international flights at midnight. AA292 takes off at 00:55 IST, about an hour before Cathay's flight to Hong Kong and two hours before a British Airways flight to London. The takeoff time certainly isn't dictated by the O'Hare arrival slot, as O'Hare, to my knowledge, doesn't require reservations between 11pm and 6am.