With incredibly low temperatures this week in major parts of the U.S. due to a polar vortex weather condition, flight cancellations have piled up, as have problems for airline crew, especially ground workers.
The bad weather not only means that some workers can't make it in, it also means that when they do, they can't spend as long outdoors as normal, and need extra accommodations to do it at all. That, as well as concern for protecting equipment in the weather, has increased the cancellations.
Meantime, many airlines are taking special measure for staff, including setting up shelters and warming stations with hot beverages, and handing out hand warmers, extra-duty gloves and coats.
"Airplanes themselves operate at these temperatures all the time up at 30,000 feet,'' said American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott. "But when you get them on the ground there are just things that pop up, like frozen water lines and cargo doors freezing shut.''