Golf season in Canada can be very short because of bad weather. One of my guilty pleasures is heading south for an annual golf trip with the boys every November. We started this tradition sixteen years ago and I would have to be very ill to miss it.
As a volunteer driver, I experienced first-hand the panic at the Orlando airport while dropping off a friend after our last round of golf. We decided to go early so we could have dinner together at the airport. Walking in, we faced a stampede of frighten travelers running and screaming to the exits.
Some travelers thought they heard gun fire while others thought that they heard an explosion. Standing outside watching the Orlando Police conduct their investigation with weapons drawn was very alarming.
It turns out that a camera battery exploded in a bag which cause people to panic and the airport to be evacuated. Thousands of travelers faced hours of waiting at security checkpoints.
Phil Brown, CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said a full ground-stop was issued at 5:30 p.m. and lasted until 9 p.m. At a press conference Friday night, Brown said 24 flights were canceled and 27 others were diverted. He acknowledged that some passengers will have to book new flights, and others might struggle to find hotel rooms for the night.
He added that some airport staff and TSA agents instructed the crowd to take cover, when the initial explosion created confusion among staff and passengers.
At first glance, it may seem that the Orlando Aviation Authority may have over reacted to a faulty camera battery. However, it happened on the same day that Americans celebrate veteran’s day. Plus no one wants to read about children getting hurt after visiting Disney World.
I felt bad for my friend who ended up sleeping at the airport as his flight was cancelled and rescheduled for 2:30 p.m. the next day. I was lucky that my early morning flight was cancelled and I got some extra sleep. It made delays in my rescheduled flight a little more bearable.
Will this unfortunate incidence stop me from going south golfing? Not a chance, however I may decide to spend a few extra days driving instead of flying.
The moral of this story is managing risk extends beyond the financial markets. Panic and over reaction can easily cause a major sell off in stock markets. You can’t predict what will cause a stampede to the exits.