All aircraft I have flown have a published crosswind limitation for both take off and landing. This limitation was "demonstrated" to be safe during the certification process. Exceed and choose to proceed during a high crosswind situation can produce what we call "resume generating events". In this particular event, this gentleman chose to "take a look" as we like to call it. The plan is discussed in detail, you give it a good college try, and if you run out of control movement i.e. his foot is stuck on the floor without the ability to correct the crab angle further, you execute a go around, more than likely to an alternate airport that has a runway aligned with the surface winds that is more favorable.
Its important to remember that the guys up front feel obligated to get a paying passenger to their final destination safely. They want to go home every night too. The flip side is, put that same paying passenger in an uncomfortable situation, and they will not be a return customer. Put them at an alternate destination, that paying passenger is upset as well. At times, you feel like you can't win.
My my goal everyday is to provide a flawless, comfortable ride. Mother Nature has her plan, and it's my job to out smart her.
Thanks for the cockpit perspective. I'm always fascinated with flight and was my childhood "what I want to do when I grow up" dream (along with astronaut), but my poor eyesight always kept me from pursuing it when younger. I know, it's funny I just became a Scout Sniper instead. But I digress...
I get the "take a look" pass and commend the pilots on both making the attempt as well as calling for the abort, and don't think I'm being critical of the pilots for wanting to get the passengers to their destination. Quick look at the online listed weather conditions at approach were ballpark E 24kt (G 40kt), but 18/24kt prior to takeoff, visibility deteriorating from 5 to 1 mile while enroute. Runway is 36/18 orientation so pretty much full value crosswind, at least has a massive runway at 9500ft to the point it was a launch abort landing strip for the Shuttle. A320 class looks to be rated at 35kt max, 20kt autoland, 15kt w/vis <4000. So obviously towards the edge but in the green at takeoff, although forecasted to worsen and that's my biggest criticism. The weather was known to be getting much worse, yet the flight proceeded as scheduled. Just seems like that was not the best call, in my layman's understanding anyhow, but I concede this stuff is way over my head as I've never done anything beyond Flight Simulator on a PC. Just smells a lot like a corporate push for a flight to go through rather than losing money on the cancellation, and the pilots didn't have enough facts backing an argument to cancel. Pure speculation, but there's smoke there.
Probably a lot of my opinion goes into my own experiences flying. I do enough dangerous shit working as it is, and the last thing I want on the way home is another adrenaline dump, and I've had a few flying the international flights on shadier airlines because USG/DoS wanted to save a few bucks and we were "only contractors". Ariana and KamAir are the worst, literally fucking chickens in the cabin on a couple flights I've done. I've been on enough cancelled flights and slept on concourse floors to easily be a disgruntled customer with the "I'm never flying Xxxxxx Airlines again" attitude, but every time I'm just the patient guy waiting in the three-plus hour rebooking line thankful they made the no-go call versus risking it. I've been lucky to have never been diverted, I can only imagine how shitty that would be as I would much rather have another day at my starting point than get stuck in a totally different city.
For the other commenters...
Yeah, I back seat fly just like I backseat drive with a shitty taxi driver or security team, because if I go down young I hope it's going to be something cool, not an avoidable accident.