Airlines scrap 4,400 US flights as winter storm disrupts holiday travel

WASHINGTON: More than 4,400 flights were canceled in a two-day period as a powerful winter storm made landfall in the United States, coinciding with the start of the holiday season that some predict could be the busiest since up to now.
More than 2,350 US flights were canceled on Thursday and another 2,120 for Friday were cancelled, according to flight tracking website FlightAware, while passenger rail route Amtrak canceled dozens of trains for to Christmas, disrupting the holiday trips of tens of thousands of people.
Another 8,450 flights were delayed as of Thursday — including more than a third of those operated by American Airlines , unified airlineand Southwest Airlines.
Southwest canceled 865 flights on Thursday, about a fifth of all scheduled flights, and canceled another 550 on Friday.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday that the winter storm brought blizzard conditions for the midwest, with major travel disruptions expected in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Delta Airlinescanceled 140 flights on Thursday out of 4,400 and 90 on Friday per FlightAware, warning “additional cancellations will be necessary Friday as the storm continues to affect operations in Detroit and East North.”
As of 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday (0030 Greenwich Mean Time), 25% of flights departing at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and 37% of flights at Chicago Midway were cancelled, while 27% of flights departing from Denver were cancelled.
Amtrak said it was canceling dozens of scheduled trains in the Midwest through Christmas because of weather conditions, including trains in Michigan, Illinois and Missouri and trains between New York and Chicago.
Brandon Mattis, 24, was at New York’s La Guardia Airport looking for a way to Atlanta, Georgia, to spend Christmas with the rest of his family. His flight was cancelled, he said.
“We’re trying to search on our phones. Figure out other routes. Maybe even catch a bus from here to Atlanta, which would take us about 21 hours. So that’s really inconvenient. But we can do anything to get there (is) what we’re going to do.”
In the seven days ended Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened nearly 16.2 million passengers, slightly lower than the 16.5 million screened during the same period in 2019. before the Covid pandemic.
Last year’s holiday season was marred by the outbreak of Covid-19 among staff, causing airlines to cancel thousands of flights.
U.S. airlines said earlier this week they were waiving change and fare differences for passengers in a range of affected areas.


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