Widespread flight cancelations point to need for duty of care planning

Posted on Feb 02, 2015

The blizzard of January 2015 may have been more bark than bite in some affected areas, where predictions for snowfall were high and actual accumulation was low. However, cities such as Boston, Providence, Rhode Island and others in the storm's path saw the worst of the weather system, which left as much as three feet of snow in some areas. The storm moved relatively slowly across the Northeast U.S., with the time from initial precipitation to the storm's ending covering more than 48 hours in many affected locations. One of the biggest issues it created were widespread travel delays caused by both the advanced fear of the storm and its results.

Problems across the country
While the storm's immediate area of effect was the Northeast, impacts were felt throughout the entire country and on an international level as well. Nevada-based NBC affiliate My News 3 reported widespread travel delays in the western part of the U.S. as the storm bore down on cities thousands of miles away. Business and personal travelers using airports were hit especially hard. Without connecting flights, long-term delays occurred in many western airports.

"Up-to-the-minute information about the origin points and destination of staff members is crucial to maintaining business continuity."

The problem for businesses
Duty of care is a major concern for companies when employees are traveling for business purposes. Being prepared for unforeseen circumstances related to travel isn't an easy task, but it's impossible without the right tools in place. Between weather-related delays and cancellations, the potential for emergencies and other events that impact business travel, up-to-the-minute information about the origin points and destination of staff members is crucial to maintaining business continuity. Additionally, companies that have poor duty of care planning will encounter difficulties hiring and retaining top talent - especially if the organization develops a bad reputation in that area.

A significant cost
Although estimating the true value of such a storm is difficult, The New York Post pointed out that approximately 2,300 flights were canceled in the greater New York City region due to the storm. That translated to approximately $75 million lost in the local economy. This figure doesn't take into account economic losses due to road closures or other local weather concerns, and doesn't include the significant costs incurred in other metropolitan areas where the storm's impacts were felt.

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