How do airlines decide which flights to cancel? Time magazine tells us

Time Magazine cover

Time Magazine got a look at American Airlines operations center for a cover story appearing in its March 3 issue. The website requires a subscription, but if you have one, it’s worth a read.

Writer Bill Saporito did a nice job of explaining how airlines choose which flights to cancel when poor weather hits.

Some highlights, according to a summary of the story I viewed:

  • Airlines are less likely to cancel international flights than domestic ones.
  • Airlines try to give preferential treatment to planes with many connecting passengers
  • Hub-to-hub flights are more likely to be canceled. For American, this would include flights between Dallas and Chicago, or Dallas and New York-Kennedy.
  • Airlines are more likely to cancel a flight filled with leisure travelers. A flight with high-fare paying business travelers would be less likely to be canceled.
  • Flights to big events — like the Super Bowl — are less likely to be canceled.
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