flights could be RATIONED ------Parade Magazine : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I posted this because this is the first time I have seen the word RATION in y2k context (mainstream). I was also surprised by the admission there could be difficulty getting food, healthcare supplies, and coal for power.

Here is the link for Parade Magazine:


However, I couldn't find this section on line. They didn't have much of anything on line in my opinion.

by Jane Ciabattari

Avoid Airports on Jan.1?

"Planes won't fall out of the sky" on New Year's day because of the computer glitch known as y2k," says a new report from the U.S. Senate's y2k committee. But the report does warn that our 670 domestic airports remain at "a high risk" for problems. And international airports and air-traffic controls could be much worse- especially in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. The committee warns that flights might end up being RATIONED.(emph mine)

Ground and sea transit (and trade) could be disrupted on Jan 1 as well. The Railroad and shipping industries rely on computers and are not ready for y2k. That could mean trouble getting food and health care supplies, even getting coal from mines to the power plants.


Well, it's not exactly in depth...but a few people may take notice.

-- Deborah (, February 22, 1999


Okay. Back to the ration thing. I realize in the context of this article it doesn't mean much.

We are all familiar with 'planes falling out of the sky' & 'doom & gloom' & 'hoarding', 'stockpiling' etc.

I think ration is a word to notice. Will it pop up with increasing frequency?

Well, we don't have the answer now, but if ANYONE SEES THIS WORD in the y2k context maybe you could POST IT HERE.

I think 'ration' appearing in increasing frequency would be significant. A barometer.

NO, I'm not trying to panic anyone or imply conspiracy. Call it 'an Experiment in y2k Media Linguistics'. ;-)

-- Deborah (curious@words.y2k), February 22, 1999.

The word is used by one speaker in this CSIS collection of "Selected Comments From WDCY2K Members During Second Survey", from 2 June 1998. The speakers are identified only by their affiliation, not by name. Here's the quote:
" However, for the shorter term, experts seem to be overlooking very key areas in their analysis- i.e., the impact of a severe oil shortage on attempts to repair fossil fuel power utilities, for instance, among numerous other things. Local martial law seems, at this point, to be just a given. Not to mentioning rationing of all sorts- energy (definitely), perhaps food, even transportation & travel."

If anyone here has not yet read through this collection (see link above) I suggest you do so now. It's quite long. It's not encouraging. Anonymity gives people freedom to speak more openly, it seems.

-- Tom Carey (, February 22, 1999.

Many of the non-Brit ruled contries in the world experience rations, quotoas and the like....the people in the US are very spoiled would be the time to wise up and get ready....don't wait 'til the end of the year.

-- Donna Barthuley (, February 22, 1999.


In one of his first columns of this year, Jim Lord had the following:

"On the second day, Dr. Harrison Fox, Professional Staff, U.S House of Representatives, subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology (Rep. Steven Horn's subcommittee) gave what many considered the most sobering session of the conference.

Dr. Fox indicated that,

By this time next year, the panic factor will be in full force and rationing will be in effect."

This is taken from: , you might find the rest interesting also.

Jerry B

-- Jerry B (, February 22, 1999.

I don't have the link handy, but I'm pretty sure rationing is featured in NERC's contingency plan.

-- Brooks (, February 22, 1999.

This thread about rationing flights is an interesting one. No one exactly knows what will happen with highly computerized aircraft, airport's systems or with the air traffic control system in regards to Y2K. If the air traffic control system goes crump or if major airports aren't functioning, the flight delays, like the 8 hour waits in Detroit due to a snow storm earlier this winter, or worse will be happening all over the USA given full flight schedules. It might be prudent if the airlines cut their schedules significantly on January 1 to allow the airports and the FAA to figure out what works and what doesn't after the new year.

The air traffic control and aircraft navigation systems are very complex. There are air to ground, ground to ground, air/ground to satellite and then back to air/ground communications and navigation systems, and remote communications sites. There are radar sites that communicate with on-board systems in aircraft and then feed aircraft data into FAA computers that will ultimately provide controllers with critical aircraft data. There are landing systems at all commercial airports that provde both directional and descent information to pilots. All of these things are powered by some form of energy although most have back-up power capabilities. Although this is a really quick and dirty explanation of the complexity of the systems, if just one of those things go wrong, delays will pile up. If many of these things go wrong even if they are scattered across the United States, it will put a serious crimp in the capacity of the air traffic control system. The FAA could be forced to go back to "manual" control methods in some areas if the main computer systems fail and can't be resuscitated. Manual control consists of controllers putting critical flight information down on strips of paper and the controllers provide seperation based upon pilot reports and distances from navigational aids. That's if those navigational aids are functioning correctly and the radios are working as they should. Manual control is very ineffecient. Any major hub air traffic facility forced into manual control will affect flight schedules across the country.

Then there are the airports. Runway lighting systems, jetways, computer reservation systems, re-fueling and de-iceing systems, fire and rescue equipment, bathrooms and heating systems...if one of these systems goes down, then that will decrease the capacity of that given airport. Consider major hub airports that land hundreds of planes an hour like DFW, Chicago O'Hare, Atlanta, Los Angeles to name a few, if air traffic is having problems, and the airport, well you can see what could transpire. This not only affects the FAA and the airlines, significant problems in the aviation infrastucture could put a serious dent in military aviation operations as they also depend a fair degree upon the air traffic/airport systems.

If the system even partially melts down in various areas of the country, the airlines and the FAA would have to take a hard look at how keep things moving safely. How would the decisions be made to keep food, goods and people in the air? What would have priority? These are all reasons why 1) it is not a good idea to plan a flying vacation over the New Years holiday, and 2) plan to have on hand for a few months at least, items that are normally shipped by air that are necessary to keep body and soul together. I suspect that if these things occur, the FAA, airports, and/or airlines would go into immediate damage control like the FAA did after the 1981 controllers strike. Eventually a way would be found to get planes flying again but the air traffic flight reservation systems and huge delays for major airports lasted for years after the PATCO strike. It's not like the airlines would be wanting to "ration" flights but that they might have to. Anyway most poeople have no idea how complex a system the aviation industry is. Most of the Y2K books only dent the surface of aviation as they are written by IT experts. This is how things look in my corner of the world. I can only hope that the FAA, the airports and the airlines are doing as well as they say they are.

-- RampRat (Aviation_R_us@noname.nocity), February 23, 1999.

I wonder if foreign persons might think to take advantage of this possible failure of air traffic system. If I wanted to come to the US (even if it may go down the tubes it will go slower than the rest of the world) I would book a flight just before Christmas with a visa that would take me through the roll over. What would the US do to/with me if their immigration computers are down and air travel is down, etc. I just might be able to get lost and to stay here in the land of milk and honey!

-- Taz (, February 23, 1999.

Thank you for your responses! First let me say I have been dealing with a bothersome flu since Sun., so I hope I'm making sense.

Tom, I'm sure many people HERE are familiar with these statements from CSIS, although this will be valuable to newer people . WE have had time to contemplate statements like Jim Lord wrote about from Dr. Fox (thank you Jerry). BUT I don't think (yes, just my opinion) that your average person on the street has heard/read anything at all about rationing in relation to y2k.

For example what would happen if the statement Tom posted from CSIS appeared in every major newspaper?!

" However, for the shorter term, experts seem to be overlooking very key areas in their analysis- i.e., the impact of a severe oil shortage on attempts to repair fossil fuel power utilities, for instance, among numerous other things. Local martial law seems, at this point, to be just a given. Not to mentioning rationing of all sorts- energy (definitely), perhaps food, even transportation & travel."

Maybe, my view is skewed because of where I live, and the fact I don't have cable (don't want it). It seems to me that most mainstream media coverage has been the 'Will planes fall out of the sky?' variety.

I am a Soccer Mom, our income is the median in our country, our home is the median home in the country, we have 2 kids a dog & a cat. We are as average as average gets, and I'm telling you if I was still grazing with the rest of the herd, and I started hearing the word ration, I would start sniffing to see where that wind was coming from.

So, what I was trying to get at was, if you see the 'r' word in the Hometown U.S.A. newspaper, or Newsweek, or anywhere else Joe & JoAnn Average might read/see it I think it's worth posting. I think that's one thing virtually guaranteed to raise awareness (or as some would say 'stir the herd').

Oh well, I give up. My brain feels like cotton balls, I need to go find some Pseudaphed (sp.?).

-- Deborah (, February 23, 1999.


Thank you for the post. I have long suspected that the "r" word was a distinct possibility. However, it you listen to national media and prepared statements from the govt, you would never believe that rationing was possible. I think that JQP (john or jane) does not have a clue. Dont give up.

-- kay (, February 24, 1999.

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