Sigh...the travel industry all over the place is taking a pounding due to weather
Snowstorms lining up across the U.S. and Canada. A cyclone heading for poor, soggy northeast Australia. An earthquake in China.
It's not a great time for the airlines, which were just recovering from a horrible 2009 season when suddenly they got walloped by a series of storms that have severely disrupted travel in the northeast U.S. We're getting a taste of it today here in Toronto, although I had zero problem getting into work (and thanks to the TTC for keeping things going smoothly, at least on the Yonge subway line today and the Harbourfront streetcar). But it's been one storm after another on the busy eastern seaboard of the U.S., and this isn't helping the old profit margins.
More importantly, of course, it's been a huge nuisance for air travellers. Which reminds us of a very cruel fact, which is that although winter is the time most of us want to get away the most, it's the time when it's the hardest to do so.
I saw the other day that the Chinese say they've developed a magnetic levitation train that can go as fast as many planes and perhaps double or triple the speed of the crazy mag-lev train that links Shanghai to its airport, a trip I took at 300 kph or so last March. That would be some kinda crazy helpful in the northeast U.S. and perhaps for a link between Montreal and Toronto.
Last I heard Porter Airlines had all sorts of cancellations at the Toronto Island airport. Peter Fitzpatrick at Air Canada says the situation isn't as bad as expected, but the Star's snow team is reporting there have been more than 300 flights cancelled at Pearson so far today.
I'm due to fly out tomorrow so I'm hoping things will be a little more calm by then, but who knows...
I feel so sorry for the folks in Queensland, Australia. Bad enough they've been deluged with rainstorms, now comes one of the wildest cyclones to hit in, perhaps, decades. They're battening down the hatches pretty seriously up around Cairns, I hear.
The Sydney Morning Herald has a live blog on Cyclone Yasi, which is said to already have cut power to 90,000 homes. It's pretty dark, but the SMH has a video on the site that's worth checking out.