Extreme Heat Wave Grounds Flights

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

It hadn't occurred to me that extreme heat waves exacerbated by global warming and climate change could disrupt the airline industry, but that's where we're at today in 2017.

The worst heatwave in decades is sweeping across the southwest and some flights in Arizona have been grounded as a result.

According to a statement from American Airlines, the American Eagle regional flights use the Bombardier CRJ aircraft, which has a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees. Tuesday's forecast for Phoenix included a high of 120 degrees, and the flights that are affected were to take off between 3 and 6 p.m. MT.

Customers affected were told to contact American Airlines for rebooking options or to request a refund.

So begins the list of a million side effects and unforeseen consequences that we haven't even pondered yet.

I know we have readers in Arizona and I really don't know how you do it. I can barely handle the summer heat in Ohio.

  • swift_4

    I remember driving into phoenix at night in the summer. The temperature readout on my car was pretty stable at about 77 degrees for most of the trip. Then we started going downhill and could see Phoenix. The thing started ticking up like a clock. Within half a minute it jumped up to about 90.

    The people we stayed with kept the AC at 80, and it seemed pretty comfortable. It was annoying to be in a store with the AC at 65 degrees and then walk out into 115 degrees. The human body doesn’t do well with sudden shifts of fifty damn degrees.

  • muselet

    Not to geek out too much on the subject, but high heat mostly affects smaller aircraft like the Bombardiers used by regional/feeder airlines, this is not an unknown phenomenon, and it’s going to get worse:

    It’s a well-known problem – a 2016 report from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) even warned that higher temperatures caused by climate change could “have severe consequences for aircraft take-off performance, where high altitudes or short runways limit the payload or even the fuel-carrying capacity”.

    Those problems are why many countries in the Middle East, and some high-altitude airports in South America, tend to schedule long flights for the evening or night, when it is cooler.

    Global warming is a Chinese hoax and hey, we can still fly at night, what are you moaning about? /Right_wing_moron


  • Well, let’s put it this way….I get really, really irritable as the summer drags on. It doesn’t help that I’m menopausal and I sweat for no damn reason. And I don’t go outside unless I can help it. I run from my air conditioned car to air conditioned work to air conditioned home. Our power bill gets REALLY high…somewhere between $300-400 a month. And we keep the house at 80 during the day while we’re gone. It’s so hot today my son’s summer camp won’t even take them swimming. I know I’ve said it many times but I hate central Arizona. So help me Cthulu I’m going to move to the mountains when my kids grow up.

  • Draxiar

    Here in Boston we haven’t capped 100 and I’m already wanting autumn…

  • AZ_Oreo

    We deal with the heat like you deal with extreme cold… Stay indoors as much as possible, dress appropriately, drink lots of water. You’re up shit creek without a paddle if your AC goes out. AC repair companies gouge customers here for minor repairs in the summer months. Hunker down and get through it!

    • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

      I spent a year in AZ. 120 F isn’t so bad when the humidity is around zero. Just think of it like a sauna, and remember to stay hydrated. Personally, I’d take 120, or even 125 over a frozen winter.

      I love walking out of an overly air conditioned house and getting hit by that wall of heat, and feeling all the tension instantly melt out of your body. 110 – that’s the sweet spot.

      Disclaimer: I’m from Los Angeles, so we’re not that far off. But I’m also well aware that my temperature preferences aren’t typical. That’s why my wife doesn’t let me touch the thermostat.

      • The sweet spot for me 105 or below. Beyond that it’s like living in a convection oven and miserable. I’ve been living here for about 18 years now and you would think I’d be used to it but I’m not. My husband is a native american, born and raised here and he hates the heat but he can handle it way better than I can. My DNA is only meant for cloudy, rainy places and this desert is torture for my skin, hair, nails, etc. /okay, done bitching

    • BUT landlords have to get someone out to repair the AC within 24 hours and have to pay to put you up in a hotel if they don’t have it fixed by nightfall. AC is almost a right in AZ.