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It's not even spring, and airline flight cancellations have already cost American passengers some $2.2 billion. Add in the cost to airlines and the total tab comes to more like $2.4 billion, according to estimates from flight data tracker masFlight.
Most of that represents out-of-pocket costs for hotels, meals, alternative travel arrangements shelled out by the roughly 4.5 million stranded air travelers from December through February, along with the wider economic impact of lost productivity from canceled flights.
Still, that $2.2 billion in passenger losses this winter pales in comparison to the $4.2 billion losses last year and is roughly in line with the $2.4 billion average passenger losses for the last six winters. Despite one of the worst winters for some Northeast hubs, the total number of delays and cancellations this winter has been much lower than last year, according to an analysis by masFlight. The winter of 2015 will be remembered for bitter cold temperatures in much of the country. But the level of precipitation was relatively mild, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That helps explain why the 63,000 flights canceled in the last three months fell well short of the more than 100,000 cancellations during the same period last year, according to masFlight.
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-- John W. Schoen