TIME Aviation

This Is Who Decides If Your Flight Takes Off This Memorial Day Weekend

Meet the Cancellator

Summer travel is kicking off this Memorial Day weekend, and major airports around the county are preparing for roughly 3 million Americans who’ll board a flight. Not all of the travelers, of course, will make it to their destinations on time—some will be part of the unlucky bunch whose flights become cancelled or delayed.

The job of determining who will be on time and who won’t falls upon a small group of airport employees who make inputs into a computer program they call the Cancellator. Their goal is to preserve an airline’s original schedule as much as possible. And that’s no easy task—each time one flight is delayed or canceled, other flights using that plane become affected, too.

Want to know more about the software and employees behind your airport frustrations? Read TIME’s March 3, 2014 cover story on airline cancellations here.

MONEY Holidays

Memorial Day Weekend Traffic, Sales & More, By the Numbers

We know for sure that during the holiday weekend, sales will be big, traffic will be heavy, and many, many hot dogs will be eaten. Here's a big roundup of fun factoids about the holiday weekend ahead.

  • 95¢

    In this May 8, 2015 photo, vehicles drive past a gas station in Andover, Mass. Even after the typical springtime run-up, the average price for gallon of regular gasoline should top out around $2.60.
    Elise Amendola—AP

    Approximate difference in the price of a gallon of regular gasoline this Memorial Day, compared to the holiday weekend in 2014. Even as gas prices have surged steadily for over a month, filling up the tank is substantially cheaper than it was a year ago. The last time gas was this cheap over Memorial Day weekend, it was 2009.

  • 5%

    Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel resort exterior property swimming pool, Orlando, Florida
    Rosa Irene Betancourt—Alamy

    Average percentage rise in hotel rates this year compared to 2014. According to Priceline data, daily room rates over Memorial Day weekend are up even more than that in cities such as Orlando and Dallas, while prices at Virginia Beach, Detroit, and Fort Lauderdale have fallen compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, forecasts from AAA call for a 16% increase in rates at lower-end (two-star) hotels over the weekend.

  • 14

    person clicking seatbelt
    Getty Images

    Number of days that police around the country are aggressively enforcing a “Click It or Ticket” campaign to get drivers and auto passengers to wear seatbelts. Look for police to pull cars over and issue a disproportionately high number of tickets for not wearing seatbelts from May 18 to 31.

  • 14+

    Colonial Williamsburg
    Bob Stefko—Getty Images Colonial Williamsburg

    Number of freebies and special discounts available to veterans and active military on or around Memorial Day, per sites such as Military.com and MilitaryBenefits.info. For instance, at Colonial Williamsburg, admission is free this weekend for all active duty, reservists, retirees, and veterans—and their dependents get in free as well.

  • 25

    War Memorial to Confederate Soldiers, Macon, Georgia
    Sean Pavone—Alamy

    Approximate number of American cities that have laid claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day, the majority of which are in the South and held celebrations in the aftermath of the Civil War. (One of them is Macon, Ga., whose War Memorial to Confederate Soldiers is pictured above.)

  • 54%

    George W. Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas, USA
    Alamy

    Percentage of Americans who said they prefer to travel on non-holiday weekends rather than holidays like Memorial Day, according to a survey conducted for Citi ThankYou Premier card. Only 11% named Memorial Day as the best summer holiday for travel.

  • 57%

    man grilling fish
    Stephen Lux—Getty Images

    Percentage of Americans who say they will grill food on the barbecue during Memorial Day weekend.

  • 60% to 70%

    Cabela’s, Scarborough, Maine
    Gregory Rec—Portland Press Herald via Getty

    Discount off the original prices that shoppers can expect during many Memorial Day sales.

  • $199

    2015 Buick Verano Turbo
    Tom Drew 2015 Buick Verano Turbo

    The hot per-month lease price available for more than two dozen new vehicles during the busy holiday weekend, according to Edmunds.com. The auto research site also notes that there are an exceptionally large number of 0% financing offers in May, including 0% financing deals on several Toyota and Nissan vehicles and most Ford models.

  • 383

    overturned car
    Sebastien Cote—Getty Images

    Estimated number of fatalities from traffic crashes that will take place over Memorial Day weekend, according to the National Safety Council. Drivers and passengers can expect another car crash-related 46,300 injuries over the weekend as well.

  • 818

    hot dogs on plate
    Greg Elms—Getty Images

    Number of hot dogs consumed every second in the U.S. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, known as peak hot dog season, when we’ll collectively wolf down 7 billion dogs.

     

  • $200,000+

    toasting with beer pints
    John Giustina—Getty Images

    Amount of money raised for military-focused charities last year with the release of a special craft beer, Homefront IPA. Ten craft brewers have made their own versions of Homefront IPA for the charity effort this year, and the official release date for the brews is Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.

  • 1.75 Million

    Passengers board a Bolt bus to New York in Washington, D.C.
    Jay Mallin—Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Projected total number of travelers in the U.S. boarding buses on rides of 50 miles or more from Wednesday, May 20, through Monday, May 25. That would be a 5% rise over the holiday period last year, and the highest total for Memorial Day weekend bus travel in 25 years.

  • 37.2 Million

    Interstate I-10, Arizona
    Natalia Bratslavsky—Alamy

    Number of Americans that AAA is projecting will travel at least 50 miles from home over the big holiday weekend. That would represent a 4.7 increase over last year, and the highest volume of Memorial Day traffic since 2005. Nearly 9 in 10 travelers will get to their destinations this weekend via automobile.

  • 42+ Million

    U.S. Marines march during the National Memorial Day Parade on Constitution Avenue in Washington, May 27, 2013.
    Yuri Gripas—Reuters

    Number of American men and women who have served their country in the armed services during war time over the centuries; approximately 1.2 million lost their lives in the course of their service.

MONEY Autos

5 Reasons This Could Be the Worst Road Trip Weekend Ever

150521_EM_WorstRoadTripWkend
Ana Abejon—Getty Images

Crazy traffic is a given. But that's hardly the only reason Memorial Day could be a nightmare for road trips.

In a new survey conducted for Citi cards, 54% of Americans said they prefer to travel on non-holiday weekends rather than holidays like Memorial Day. The most common reasons given for staying home for the holidays were traffic (47%) and high costs (30%).

Maybe these people are on to something. Here are a handful of reasons why the Memorial Day weekend is shaping up as a less-than-ideal time for getting on the road. As you’ll see, traffic and high costs are only part of the problem.

Horrendous Traffic
The forecast from AAA calls for 37.2 million Americans to travel at least 50 miles from home over the big holiday weekend. That’s an increase of nearly 5% compared with Memorial Day 2014, and it would represent the heaviest amount of traffic on this weekend in a decade. Only a small portion of these travelers will fly: roughly 9 out of 10 will be in automobiles.

Cheap gas, an improving jobs scene, and pent-up demand after a long and brutally snowy winter in the Midwest and Northeast have been cited as reasons why so many Americans are more than ready to kick off summer with a road trip. The East Coast will be particularly clogged with cars. An estimated 890,000 vehicles will drive Maine Turnpike over the weekend, a 5.2% increase over last year. Nearly 1 million New Jersey residents are expected to travel this weekend—in a state that has a population of just 9 million. “Motorists need to pack their patience along with the sunscreen as they set out for the Jersey Shore,” a spokesperson from AAA Mid-Atlantic cautioned.

Aggressive Police Enforcement
To cope with holiday weekend crowds, police will be turning Miami Beach into a “mini police state,” in the words of the Miami New Times, with road closures, parking bans, barricades, one-way traffic loops, and police checkpoints in popular areas. Around the country, police have stated they will be aggressively enforcing everything from so-called “slow poke” left-lane driving rules to laws mandating the wearing of seatbelts with a national “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Crackdowns on DUIs will be widespread as well—in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, to name just a few states. In the latter, police may employ “No Refusal” tactics, which allow them to seek a search warrant and draw blood from someone who is suspected of driving under the influence and refuses a breathalyzer test. The same kind of enforcement will be used by police in parts of Texas, where the “No Refusal” process can be applied not only to car drivers, but those behind the wheel of boats as well.

Drunk Drivers, Car Accidents
The main reason for ratcheting up enforcement of DUI laws and other driving regulations on Memorial Day weekend is that, hopefully, it sets the tone for the entire summer season. The holiday weekend starts what’s known as the 100 Deadliest Days on American roads (for teens especially), and the goal is to crack down hard at the beginning to save lives in the long run. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 146 people were killed in crashes involving impaired drivers during Memorial Day weekend in 2013.

Data from the National Safety Council forecasts that there will be 383 fatalities from traffic accidents over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, and car crashes will result in another 46,300 injuries. What’s scary is that historically, the days around the July 4 holiday are even more dangerous for drivers and passengers than Memorial Day.

Texters, Tailgaters, Bikers, New Yorkers
Texting behind the wheel is the behavior most likely to induce road rage from fellow motorists, according to a new survey conducted on behalf of Expedia. Tailgaters and left-lane hogs tied for second place in terms of aggravating people on the roads, while New York City came out on top for having the country’s rudest drivers. All of this rage has manifested itself in drivers yelling or using profanity behind the wheel (26% admitted to doing so), and by employing a rude gesture that probably involves a single finger (17% admit to this, while 53% say they’ve been on the receiving end).

Memorial Day is also a traditional time for many biker rallies, which have been known to bring about traffic (and worse) in the past, and which this year may cause locals, police, and motorists to be more on edge than usual given the recent biker shootout that left nine people dead in Waco, Texas. Major motorcycle gatherings are planned this weekend in Washington, D.C., Red River, N.M., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.,, among other places.

Soaring Motel Rates
Hotel rates are up roughly 5% nationally compared to last year. That doesn’t seem like a big deal. But the one segment of the lodging industry favored by road trippers has spiked to an outsized degree. According to AAA, rates at supposedly cheap two-diamond properties are averaging $144 per night, a rise of 16% over last year. That kind of sharp increase may more than offset the money you’re saving thanks to cheap gas.

TIME Holidays

V-E Day Was Last Week. Here’s Why Some Countries Celebrate Today Instead

Victory day, World War II, USSR, 1945. Artist: Anon
Heritage Images—Getty Images A woman celebrating the defeat of Nazi Germany with members of the victorious Soviet Red Army in 1945. Found in the collection of the Moscow Photo Museum.

Victory Day in Russia and its neighbors is celebrated on May 11 this year

It took years of fighting to drive the German forces to surrender in World War II, and it took days to make that surrender official. As TIME reported in early May of 1945, a German official and the Associated Press both announced that the surrender had been signed on May 7, but for some reason the story was not yet confirmed by Allied officials:

Downing Street was mum; the White House was coy and confused. Best guess was that Joe Stalin had held up the joint announcement either because: 1) his Ukrainian armies still faced a small segment of determined Nazis in Moravia, or 2) he was not yet ready to set off Russia‘s victory celebration. Finally, from London, came word that the official announcement would come the following day. Thus, for the history books, May 8, 1945, became V-E day.

When that day came, Winston Churchill stepped to a microphone in London. His rolling periods swept across the world by short wave. With deep emotion he said: “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead. . . . Advance, Britain! Long live the cause of freedom! God save the King!”

From Moscow, for some unexplained reason, there was no immediate announcement.

Now, 70 years after that surrender, Moscow’s silence is no mystery.

As the New York Times explained that week, Stalin was unhappy that the surrender on May 7 had taken place at Reims rather than in Berlin, where Russian forces were in control. In fact, Stalin had only sent a lower-ranking general to witness the surrender in Reims, rather than sending a major representative of his power. So, though the May 7 surrender—which took effect on May 8, the date of V-E Day—was cause for celebration across the Allied world, Stalin wanted the news to wait until the surrender was officially ratified in the German capital; his stubbornness on that point was (accurately) seen by many as a hint of conflict to come between the former allies.

The official Berlin surrender took place late at night on May 8, the day after the Reims surrender; its text declared that it was signed just after midnight the following day, May 9. Besides, it had already been May 9 in Moscow for a few hours—and, accordingly, while American and European media might have celebrated the 70th anniversary of victory last Friday, Russia and many other former Soviet nations celebrated Victory Day on Saturday, with “Victory Day Observed” for a three-day weekend on Monday.

TIME Holidays

Watch President Obama Spring a Mother’s Day Surprise on 3 Moms

"You're doing the most important work there is"

Three mothers got a totally unexpected Mother’s Day gift this year: a surprise phone call from President Obama.

“I decided on Mother’s Day I should call up some letter writers and moms, and say thank you for being great moms,” Obama explains to a stunned mother in a video shared Sunday by the White House. “You’re one of the moms I want to say thank you to. You still don’t believe me.”

The lucky three, who hail from Minnesota, Arizona and Florida, had each written letters to Obama over the past year thanking him for supporting a higher minimum wage and for signing the Affordable Care Act in March 2010.

“I know how tough it is to raise kids and do right by them. If it hadn’t been for my mother, I certainly wouldn’t be here,” said Obama, whose own mother, Ann Dunham, died of cancer in 1995. “You’re doing the most important work there is.”

TIME Holidays

Animated Google Doodle Honors Mothers of All Species

Google

And their children

Flowers don’t make much of an appearance in this year’s Mother’s Day Google Doodle.

The animated Doodle, designed by Olivia Huynh, honors a range of mothers—human moms and various animal ones—as they’re greeted by their children, cubs, chicks and baby bunnies.

“Brainstorming for this Doodle and thinking of my own mom, lots of small moments and gestures of affection came up, so I decided to concentrate on that as a concept,” Huynh explained. “I spent awhile trying to figure out how I could use style to keep the characters somewhat minimalistic and relatable since Mother’s Day is celebrated all around world.”

While previous Mother’s Day Doodles have tended to incorporate colorful carnations, this year’s Doodle seems to be more in line with what the holiday’s founder would’ve wanted to see. Philadelphia activist Anna Jarvis, who came up with the idea in 1908 to pay a tribute to her mother, later slammed the commercialization of the holiday and the profiteering of Mother’s Day carnations.

Read next: 3 Historical Arguments Against Mother’s Day

TIME Holidays

3 Historical Arguments Against Mother’s Day

Anna Jarvis
FPG / Getty Images A portrait of the founder of Mothers Day, Anna Jarvis, circa 1900

In its 101 years as a national observance, Mother's Day has made its fair share of enemies

Campaigning against Mother’s Day is a surefire way to sound like a grouch — but that didn’t stop Anna Jarvis.

That’s because if anyone could get away with it, she could. After all, Jarvis invented the whole thing, and then it ballooned far beyond what she had been imagining. As TIME wrote in 1938, it was May of 1907 when Jarvis persuaded a church in her hometown, Philadelphia, to hold a special church service on the anniversary of her mother’s death. The next year the governors of Florida and North Dakota issued special proclamations inspired by the service and it went national in 1914 when President Wilson made one, too. It wasn’t long before businesspeople across the country figured the day could be a great way to sell the nation on flowers, cards and other tokens. Jarvis, the article explained, was not amused:

Anna Jarvis is the 60-year-old Philadelphia spinster who invented Mother’s Day. Whenever she thinks of what the flower shops, the candy stores, the telegraph companies have done with her idea, she is disgusted. She has even incorporated Mother’s Day to help keep unscrupulous florists and confectioners from using her patented trademark for commercial purposes. But “nobody,” she says, “pays any attention to law any more.”

Once she was arrested for disorderly conduct for interrupting a Philadelphia meeting of American War Mothers, whom she accused of profiteering on Mother’s Day carnations. In 1934 she kept James Aloysius Farley from putting “Mother’s Day” on his special 3¢ Whistler’s Mother stamp, which she said was just another racket. Last week on Mother’s Day she contented herself with denouncing a Manhattan “Mother’s Peace Day” parade and a “Parents’ Day” meeting in Central Park. (One of her current slogans is “Don’t Kick Mother out of Mother’s Day.”) Then she dedicated an eternal light to the Mothers of America and went to a service in her honor at the Church of the Saviour.

It didn’t stop there. TIME reported that Jarvis sent violent telegrams to President Roosevelt and mostly shut herself inside her house–emerging only to hand out flyers about the evils of commercializing Mother’s Day.

But rampant commerce wasn’t the only objection to the way Mother’s Day was celebrated. In that same TIME story, Eleanor Roosevelt urged that Mother’s Day also be turned into a public awareness event about the maternal mortality rate, which was 14,000 deaths a year at the time. That idea was an echo of an earlier campaign by physiologist Thomas Wilcox Haggard, who in 1934 reminded the world that “lives of mothers can be saved only by facing gruesome realities, not by holding out the promise of a potted plant.”

And finally, history has seen its fair share of those who believe that Mother’s Day is all well and good, but doesn’t go far enough. In 1950, TIME wrote about Miss Dorothy Babb, an advocate for a National Old Maids’ Day. “Many spinsters, she pointed out, don’t even get birthday gifts, so eager are they to avoid the subject of age,” the magazine reported. In the ’70s, that cry was picked up by the National Organization for Non-Parents, which advocated for Non-Mother’s Day to be a holiday.

Read the whole 1938 story about Mother’s Day and Anna Jarvis, here in the TIME Vault: Mother’s Day, Inc.

MONEY deals

10 Best Mother’s Day Freebies & Deals (and an Unsolicited Warning)

TGI Friday's
Chris Ison—AP

For Mother's Day, restaurants ranging from TGI Friday's to Hooters are going all out to honor moms with free desserts and entrées and half-price wine. But first, before biting, a quick word of caution.

Taking mom somewhere she doesn’t want to go—Hooters, we’re looking at you—is bad enough on Mother’s Day. And taking her somewhere she hates solely because there’s a deal is doubly bad: It demonstrates you’re not only insensitive but unabashedly cheap as well.

Then again, surveys show that moms teach us a lot about money, and hopefully that includes advice on how to use it wisely in appreciation of the ones we love. If you know your mother well, you should have a good idea of what her reaction would be to being “treated” to a free meal on Mother’s Day. For that matter, bear in mind that what moms seem to want most for Mother’s Day may not cost you a dime.

In any event, here are the top 10 Mother’s Day food freebies and deals we’ve spotted:

Beef O’Brady’s: Moms get a complimentary meal (max $10 value) on Mother’s Day.

Brickhouse Tavern & Tap: Get one free brunch entrée from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the purchase of one at the regular price on Sunday.

Church’s Chicken: Order any family meal purchase from May 8 to May 10 and Church’s will throw in a 20-piece of Oreo Biscuit Bites at no extra charge.

Corner Bakery: Use the linked coupon for a free six-pack of Bottoms Up Bundts with the purchase of any lunch or entrée, valid now through May 11.

Hooters: Let’s hope you know your mom well enough to accurately gauge whether she’d think going to Hooters on Mother’s Day would be a hoot—or be horrified and never forgive you. Some 35,000 moms have reportedly taken advantage of Hooters’ freebies on previous Mother’s Days, and this Sunday, moms get a free meal (up to $10.99 value) with any drink purchase.

Orange Leaf Yogurt: Moms are welcomed to an 8 oz. frozen yogurt on the house on Mother’s Day.

PDQ: Moms get a free combo meal with the purchase of any kids’ combo meal on Sunday.

Shoney’s: All moms get a free slice of strawberry pie on Sunday with the purchase of an entrée or the Mother’s Day buffet.

TGI Friday’s: Half-price bottles of wine for all customers, from May 5 through May 10.

Tijuana Flats: Moms are welcomed to a free entrée at this Tex-Mex chain on Mother’s Day.

MONEY Odd Spending

Mother’s Day is Big Business for Everyone…Including Hooters

With Mother's Day spending expected to top $20 billion this year, here's the holiday by the numbers.

MONEY Holidays

The Truth About How Much a Mom Is Worth

mom doing chores around house, multiple exposure
Crystal Craig—Dreamstime.com

Moms are priceless. But around Mother's Day each year, folks try to put a precise dollar figure on the value of a mom anyway.

Happy soon-to-be-Mother’s Day! To honor moms everywhere, the all-purpose insurance site Insure.com creates a Mother’s Day Index around this time of year. Researchers round up all the different tasks handled regularly by moms, and then multiply the number of hours moms dedicate to each chore by the going rate per the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the corresponding occupation.

For instance, Insure.com estimates that the average mom spends 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, taking care of her kids. The mean hourly wage for such a job—childcare worker—is $11.10, which adds up to $23,088 annually. Other mom tasks include serving as a chauffeur, cook, nurse, homework helper, accountant, and private detective (necessary to find out what the kids are up to, of course). When all the numbers are added up, the total comes to $65,283.81.

Well, maybe that sounds about right for what your mom is worth. But our moms are worth far more—they’re priceless, invaluable beyond measure, let alone some crass dollar amount. (Note to self: Forward this story to mom in lieu of a gift on Sunday.) Meanwhile, nearly 4 in 10 women surveyed for the Insure.com study say that the work of moms merits a salary of at least $75,000. Guys don’t seem to think as highly of mom’s value; only 28% said $75K+ is fair compensation for a mother’s tasks, while 22% were of the opinion that mom’s chores are worth less than $25,000 annually.

Interestingly, a similar index, created by Salary.com last year, has it that the value of a stay-at-home mom is actually $118,905. How could there be such a difference compared with the Insure.com index? Mostly it’s because the Salary.com folks think more highly of the duties handled by moms. According to Insure.com, mom’s highest paid tasks are accounting and private investigating, jobs that each pay around $25 an hour. Over at Salary.com, moms are credited with the work—and wages—of CEO, psychologist, and facilities manager, which pay roughly $32, $39, and $54 per hour, respectively.

Oh, and there’s another reason why these estimated mom values aren’t in the same ballpark: They are just silly, fun, and totally un-scientific studies that incorporate loads of guesswork and easily manipulated data.

Besides, these indices aren’t really produced with the goal of pinpointing the average mom’s worth. What’s the goal of creating them then? Naturally, it’s to help Insure.com sell life insurance, and to help Salary.com get people to visit Salary.com.

Read next: 6 Mother’s Day Factoids to Show You’re Not a Horrible Ungrateful Son or Daughter

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