Airlines cancel hundreds of flights for huge winter storm

Weekend travel is already being disrupted by the approaching dangerous weather, with a massive storm expected to bring high winds and more than a foot of snow to parts of the northeast.

Airlines preemptively canceled hundreds of flights before the system arrived to avoid customers and crew members getting stuck on the day of their scheduled flight.


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The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning today for all regions from Maryland to Maine, CNBC News reported. There is also a winter storm warning in effect specifically for New York City and many of the surrounding areas, and a Boston snow storm warning that will remain in effect until Sunday morning.

According to aviation tracking website FlightAware, as of Friday 5pm ET, airlines had canceled 3,710 of Saturday’s flights. Today’s total cancellations were 2,390, with New York, Chicago and Boston airports being the hardest hit.

The total number of departing and arriving flights canceled Friday was 234 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, 230 at LaGuardia (LGA), 166 at Newark Liberty International (EWR), 232 at Chicago O’Hare (ORD ) and 141 at Boston Logan International (BOS).

When it comes to Saturday flight cancellations, those numbers jump into the 500 and 600 for both departing and arriving flights at the same airports. Boston Logan was forced to cancel more than 90 percent of its Saturday schedule, or 603 flights in total. Meanwhile, LaGuardia has so far canceled about 92 percent of tomorrow’s schedule, or 529 flights.

According to Travel + Leisure, several major airlines are already issuing travel waivers before the storm’s arrival for canceled flights to and from many East Coast cities. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines have already done so. Typically, fare differences are eliminated as long as replacement flights are taken within a specified time frame and seats are in the same cabin and the flight travels between the same cities as originally booked.

Most airlines had already cut change fees for standard economy (not basic economy) tickets by 2020, when COVID-19 made it nearly impossible for customers to make solid travel plans.


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