The story was the same from the Midwest to Canada last week,
written in the wind on a blanket of snow that disrupted the travel
plans of clients homeward bound from a holiday visit or eager to
greet the new year with a vacation trip to a sunny clime.
A quick check of the weather map over the second-busiest travel
period of the year shows the following:
In Chicago, nearly two feet of snow snarled the usually
unflappable O'Hare, while at Toronto's Pearson -- winter storms are
hardly an unfamiliar phenomenon there -- harried travelers were
stopped in their frozen tracks when hundreds of flights were
Detroit's Metro Airport, like O'Hare a Midwest hub, also was
blasted by the blizzard, while in western New York would-be
travelers were left slipping and sliding in the wake of a
lake-effect whiteout that paralyzed Buffalo Niagara Airport.
In the New York area, where a torrential downpour flooded access
roads and played havoc with surface transportation, those sodden
souls who somehow made their wet and weary way to Kennedy,
LaGuardia and Newark airports found their perseverance rewarded
with postponed or scratched connections and open-ended wait times
that turned a dreary day into a long night.
In sum, a tough time for travelers but one made somewhat easier
by resourceful and conscientious retailers who, themselves, braved
the elements to open agencies closed for the holidays or,
snowbound, manned their home phones to handle calls from stranded
We are not suggesting that travel agents put down their snow
shovels and pat themselves on the back -- rebooking, rescheduling,
coming to the aid and comfort of clients is, after all, their
business. Nevertheless, it should not go unremarked that when
airline phone lines are jammed and uncaring airline clerks tell
trapped travelers there is no way out, the pros come through.
They always have and they always will.