This topic has been brought up a couple of times, but regardless of how bad the situation is, nothing seems to get done about it.
Over the last couple of months there have been repeated stories in the US media about passengers stuck on aircraft for anywhere between 6-12 hours. These stories have been news pretty much since the 1999 Northwest Blizzard.
This story in the New York Times:
This story is that delays this year has been the worst in years:
Link to video
The common threads in are that the airlines are the victims of their own success (or failure) because they have been aggressively reducing fleet size to provide the market with the approximate number of seats that they usually sell. This eliminates extra seats that would otherwise be available to fix weather delays or cancelled filights. Because they have less capacity to deal with these problems, they are more hesitant to cancel flights and let people off- the "let's wait this out syndrome". The airlines have also been scheduling aircraft for minimum downtime, so a delay in one part of the country causes delays thoughout the system.
Now add large numbers of smaller planes, an antiquated ATC system, and vastly reduced customer services to deal with the weather related problems.
We do not seem to be headed in a direction that will make this better.
What is going to have to happen to turn it around?