Chicago GrawliX-Files

GrawliX-Files inducts Brian Howard for Chicago Air Traffic Control Fire $123 million impact

U.S. Travel Association sent out a press release citing the Chicago Air Traffic Control Fire $123 million impact so far is based on passengers’ lost economic activity from 3,900 flight cancellations in the first four days following the fire Friday, September 26.

Economists at the U.S. Travel Association have calculated that the cancellation of one U.S. domestic flight costs $31,600 in passengers’ direct economic activity. The direct-impact figure includes the costs of canceled trips, passenger time lost, missed connections and missed travel activities. The estimates are based on a combination of airline traffic and on-time data; air traveler behavior and characteristics data recently collected through U.S. Travel surveys; the monthly TravelsAmerica survey conducted by research firm TNS; and U.S. Travel’s proprietary economic models.

The economic impact estimate was formulated using only the known number of flight cancellations in the first four days following the incident. The number only accounts for passengers on those flights and the spending they would otherwise inject into the economy; because of discrepancies in how each carrier tabulates its costs, there is no industry-wide data available for the airline sector.

U.S. Travel Association

The Federal Aviation Association set October 13 as the date for the Chicago center to return to fully operational status.

According to the Seattle Times: On Friday, September 26, “a contract employee tried to commit suicide and set a fire that damaged the air traffic facility in Aurora, Ill., leading to thousands of flight cancellations and delays at O’Hare and Midway airports in Chicago.”

“The contractor was identified as Brian Howard, 36, of Naperville, Ill. He remains in custody and is hospitalized with what authorities said were self-inflicted knife wounds and burns.

Howard was charged on Friday with one count of felony destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities.”

Loyalty Traveler GrawliX-Files inducts Brian Howard

Brian Howard makes the Loyalty Traveler GrawliX-files. This is my series on  ‘crazy f#@king s#@t that happens when you are a wasted traveler’.

In this GrawliX-Files case, Brian Howard, was an employee rather than a regular traveler. According to a CBS Chicago news story from Tuesday, September 30, Mr. Howard got stoned on marijuana before arriving at the air traffic center.

The man who allegedly sabotaged the air traffic navigation center in Aurora has admitted that he was high when he decided to set the computer server racks on fire, shutting down flight operations at Chicago’s two major airports last week.

Brian Howard smoked marijuana before he entered the facility early on Friday morning, sources told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.

Howard, accused of torching the FAA radar center basement, described himself as “stoned and nervous” on Facebook minutes before authorities said he started the fire.

CBS Chicago

Perhaps what air travelers in the USA will find most egregious about the entire incident is Brian Howard’s reason for being a disgruntled employee. He had recently been notified of a job relocation after working eight years for Harris Corporation modernizing communications equipment at FAA facilities.

Howard was terminated after the arson incident last week.

His job relocation to Hawaii apparently set him off to set a fire to the Chicago Air Traffic Control Center that has had an impact of more than $123 million so far.

Now that is some ‘crazy f#@king s#@t that happens when you are a wasted employee who does not want to travel to Hawaii’ and qualifies Brian Howard as an inductee into the Loyalty Traveler GrawliX-Files.

Other GrawliX-Files inductees:

GrawliX-Files: Tatted Temptress takes Thai tourist at Hyatt Times Square (August 30, 2014)

GrawliX-Files: Cocaine, booze and W Hotel 16 floor chair drop (August 28, 2014)


Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.

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  • Jamie October 3, 2014

    I just learned a new word…GrawliX
    I like the award. But I wouldn’t want to live in Hawaii. Not that I would consider it a basis for a serious grievance against my employer. But given an all-things-equal proposition, Hawaii is too far out in the middle of an ocean for me to want to live there full time. Visit… absolutely.

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