As much as sportswriters get razzed about complaining about air traffic delays, they have a point. Getting stuck in an endless delay loop is brutal, and the fact that you are privileged enough to cover games for a living isn’t exactly a consolation in the moment for having your life put on hold by factors beyond your control. That being said, we are starting to see signs today amidst the government shutdown that if this doesn’t get resolved quickly, next week could be a true travel hellscape.
Today is the second missed paycheck for federal government workers, which includes TSA and air traffic control. LaGuardia is feeling the pinch of the latter, and incoming flights were halted this morning. Newark and Philadelphia are also starting to be affected in the form of delays.
If these problems compound — the interconnectedness of all the country’s airports causing a domino effect, and/or more and more TSA workers and air traffic controllers calling out due to frustration of not getting their paychecks, or worst yet collective action triggering a widespread air travel shutdown — next week’s Super Bowl travel could get very, very ugly.
If you are traveling to the Super Bowl from the West Coast, you just have to hope and pray, presuming this doesn’t get resolved, that at least you make it down to Atlanta next week in one piece. If you live in the area bound by the corners of, say, Maine, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, you may want to look into car rental contingency plans.