It’s 94 degrees outside, the ship is full of hot people, the air conditioning cannot keep up, thunderstorms are moving in and we’re #43 in line for take-off. It’s rush hour at JFK and I’m the Captain taking 172 people non-stop to San Francisco. We have 5 ½ hours of real estate in front of us – after we wait in the runway queue. The folks onboard probably think the toughest part for them is over; TSA security check-points, time constraints and long lines top their lists. Tonight, they are wrong.
We’ve been put in special penalty box until the bad weather has passed along our route of flight. The ATC system is already at capacity and in addition to those 42 airplanes in front of us there are four of them on a similar routing. We each need 20 minutes of spacing between us. Have you done the math yet?