This week: DFW’s winter nightmare, glitch in the UK & more

Alright-y, let’s do this. It’s going to be a brief update this week as we’re sure everyone appreciates that given the Christmas craziness has officially started!

The biggest disruption this week probably came from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the States. The Star-Telegram reported that late Friday, the airport reported that about 4,000 travelers were hunkered down for the night in terminals, and that 1,000 more cots were being brought in, adding to 3,000 set out Thursday night. On Friday, DFW officials said airlines canceled 760 departing flights out of DFW — about 90 percent of all scheduled flights. American Airlines and American Eagle reported more than 1,400 flight cancellations system-wide, including DFW, on Friday. The cause for this all? Icy winter weather.

Travellers in the United Kingdom and Ireland didn’t have much better luck this week when an air traffic control centre glitch caused chaos across the two countries. The Daily Mirror reported that hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed on Saturday after problems with a telephone system arose at the National Air Traffic Service (Nats) centre in Swanwick, Hampshire, in the early hours. According to the article thousands of people endured hours of frustration as flights were affected across the country, including the major airports of Heathrow (LHR), Stansted (STN) and Gatwick (LGW). The problem was resolved on Saturday evening, Nats said, more than 12 hours after first being reported.

Better news reached us from Kenya this week when The Guardian reported that the African country began work on a $653 million expansion of the capital’s main airport on Tuesday, the second large-scale infrastructure project it has launched in a week, aimed at boosting trade and cementing its status as a regional commercial hub. The new terminal will be able to handle 20 million passengers when completed, three times the existing passenger flow through the airport, whose arrivals hall was gutted by a massive blaze in August. The first phase of the new terminal’s construction will be finished in 2016.

And to finish off the week, this report here from the United States: Airline investigators are looking into how a man got left behind and locked onboard a United Airlines jet when everyone else left during a layover in Houston from Louisiana. According to ABC News, the man says he fell asleep on the plane and woke up in the pitch black cabin that had landed at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), the nation’s fifth largest airport. “I woke up and the lights were out. I was like, what’s going on?” Wagner told ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston. “I thought maybe it was a layover, still on the same plane.” He was eventually freed after he called his girlfriend who then alerted the airline.

Safe travels!

[Picture from Wikipedia – some rights reserved]