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Who makes decisions to cancel flights for major airlines?

My flight was cancelled 5 hours before departure for "weather" reasons - yet the weather at my point of origin, destination and everywhere in between was perfect. Who would have made the decision to cancel such a flight, and why?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is a collective effort between the air traffic control, dispatchers and crew schedulers (and probably a few more groups) There is more than just immediate weather that causes cancellations. There are strict rules about how long a pilot can be on duty and how much rest time they need before starting the next day. So if a crew is really delayed they have to delay or cancel their first flight of the next day (and delaying one means delaying the rest of the day) There also could be maintenance issues with a plane so the plane cannot fly the route. Strikes also cause cancellations (but I am not aware of any going on right now) if there is no flight crew and ground crew there can't be a flight. Wierd things like radar going out (O'Hare had this a few times recently) runway lights not working etc can cause a cancellation. Most likely is was that your plane was stuck somewhere for whatever reason can couldn't get to you. Remeber 5 hours is pretty short airline time when each domestic flight is 2 -3 hours long.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If a situation like the Denver snowstorm, or anything like that causes major flight delays and cancellations, this knocks all schedules out of whack. Many planes make a "circular" route, or have several stops on the daily route. I think sometimes people don't take this into consideration. If your aircraft never made it from Los Angeles, it certainly can't continue your trip to DesMoines. Sometimes it is the airline when it is due to a mechanical situation, but MOST TIMES... it is FAA mandated. When the system is choked up, the schedule can't possibly "make up time" so the FAA will tell an given airline to cancel "xx %" of the flight schedule for the day, or between certain hours of the day, just to loosen up the runways and make it possible to "start fresh" the next day. If not, the domino effect would continue, and the schedule completely goes out the window. You have to be able to get back on track during crazy weather situations, and sometimes an airline or the FAA has to make difficult decisions to make it happen. When you see one airline that seems to have more cancellations, you must also consider if it is a "hub" (major) connection city for the airline. The percentage of cancellations for one airline vs. another may be extreme, but percentage is percentage, and it will show when the FAA tells the airline to cancel "every other (alternating) flight in the schedule and one airline typically has many more flights a day.

    Source(s): travel industry
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  • dcgirl
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The FAA and the air traffic controllers together make this decision. You may not be aware of all the weather conditions, especially wind sheer, which can be quite high just 20 feet above the ground but you wouldn't notice it just walking around. Wind sheer is very dangerous, especially for smaller planes. Also, weather may have been bad somewhere else on that plane's trip. For example, if you were flying from Philly to Chicago, and the same plane was supposed to continue on to Denver, the plane might have been held in Philly rather than going a stop further to Chicago, because the midwest hub cities are full of planes that could not go to Denver and now do not have any more runway space or parking spaces for more planes.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It can sometimes be for forcasted weather. Ever since a crash in Little Rock in I dont know what year, piolits dont take windshear chances or bad weather chances unless they are running low on feuel like in Seattle 2 weeks.

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  • 1 decade ago

    the airport where THE AIRPLANE came from before it got to your airport, may have been closed due to the weather.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I do!

    bcos ur tax papers are incorrect!

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