If you have seen any of the news over the weekend, you know that there was a terrible act of vandalism committed in setting a fire at a FCC air traffic control center. This caused hundreds of cancellations and delays over the weekend at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. They are working to get them back on schedule, but there are still many stranded passengers. To help with the ATC overload, they are transferring employees from the affected Aurora facility (where the fire was) to the other ATC centers around the area. Officials are saying that it will be until October 13 before the damage is repaired and delays in the area could last until that time.
That is a problem for a lot of travelers/commuters for sure, but it could also really snarl up a lot of people who are flying into Chicago for the Chicago Marathon (which takes place on October 12). The Chicago Marathon is hard enough to get into anyway (a packed lottery) and to have to miss it because of airline delays would be a great shame.
Extending Travel Waivers?
As of right now, the latest the travel waivers are allowing is for travel booked through October 3rd. If the delays do indeed continue being that bad as some are saying, we could see a rolling waiver as the days go by. For sure, flights will be running on Chicago Marathon weekend, but the biggest problem might be delays of scheduled flights. If you have a flight coming in that is one of the last of the day before the marathon or some similar timing, you may want to watch the waiver schedule as the week goes on to see if it is possible to switch to an earlier flight. Again, the chances are very good that your flight will still be ok, but it might be delayed enough or have a cascade of delays as a result of the backup and that might cause your flight to misconnect.
A marathon is an extreme event to prepare for. It takes a lot of mental focus in the days leading up to the event. The last thing you want to do is stressing out because of travel. With the marathon being on a Sunday, you could try to switch your flight to an earlier Saturday flight or a Friday evening flight. I had a similar circumstance when I was running the Rocket City Marathon. The weather was looking bad enough that I did not want to miss my connection and, thereby, miss the marathon so I used my Delta Diamond status to change my flight to an earlier one that day (there was no weather waiver in place). That new flight still faced delays but I got there in time, which I would not have if I had taken the original flight. So, keep an eye on the waivers from the various airlines over the coming week to check your options. Below are the webpages for the various airlines so you can check on the waiver status:
- American Airlines – currently for travel through October 3
- Delta Airlines – currently for travel through September 29
- Southwest Airlines – currently for travel through October 1 (though you can cancel or change your flight for no fee at any time)
- United Airlines – currently for travel through October 3
- US Airways – currently for travel through October 3
Make sure you check the pages as well since there are other airports that are included in those waivers (in case you are flying into a different airport).