This was the week that flying standby was grounded forever

This was the week that the airlines finally put a stake through the palpitating heart of standby flying. Two things happened to make flexible plans something that will no longer reward the casual traveler.

It ended on February 10, the day of the big blizzard. The first thing that happened, of course, was that snowfall. Anyone who hadn't called the airline two days before, when they first heard about the incoming weather system, was in all likelihood staying put, and not just for the duration of the snowfall, but for days afterward. If your flight was canceled on Wednesday, you were likely to call the airline and be told that you weren't going anywhere on Thursday or Friday, either. For many flights, all standby bookings are slated to be off the table until the middle of next week.

It used to be that when the airlines canceled flights, there were enough empty seats on the ones afterward to absorb the overflow in a reasonable amount of time.