Published on : Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The plight of American fliers doesn’t seem to be coming to an end. Tuesday was another day of flight delays and cancellations frustrated air travelers on Tuesday as yet another winter storm system took aim at busy airports.
Nationwide, more than 1,100 flights had been grounded and another 1,600 delayed as of 1 p.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. And that total seemed certain to grow thanks to a strengthening storm that was forecast to stretch from the Great Plains across the Great Lakes and into New England.
Every big airline had waived change fees and relaxed rebooking rules for fliers, though the exact details and cities covered varied by airlines.
Tuesday’s hardest-hit airport as of 1 p.m. ET was Chicago O’Hare, where more than 278 flights (138 departures, 140 arrivals) had been canceled. Wintry weather, gusty winds and poor visibility were expected to affect the airport from Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday.
Also hit hard were the three big New York City-area airports, which all were working to get back to normal schedules after heavy snow snarled flights and complicated the return home for Super Bowl fans on Monday.
To the West, Missouri’s Kansas City International Airport had about 10 cancellations – or roughly a quarter of its schedule — as of 1 p.m. ET, according to FlightAware. Heavy snow was forecast for an area that included greater Kansas City, Omaha and a large swath of the Plains.
Airports in the Great Lakes region also saw cancellations totals begin to creep up by noon ET, with a mix of snow, ice and generally poor weather forecast for much of the region. Cleveland, Columbus (Ohio) and Indianapolis were among several airports where cancellations were running higher than normal, according to FlightAware.
Tuesday’s problems come after more than 2,000 flights were canceled on Monday and nearly another 950 on Sunday, bringing the three-day total to about 4,000 as of noon ET.
Fliers should be prepared for today’s disruptions — as well as lingering problems from earlier this week — to ripple out and affect flights elsewhere. A flight from Phoenix to Houston, for example, could become delayed or canceled if the aircraft of crew scheduled to operate it gets stuck in the snowy Midwest.
Already, minor to moderate cancellations were popping up at other big hubs. FlightAware counted more than 50 combined arrival and departure cancellations at Washington Dulles, more than 60 at Dallas/Fort Worth and about three dozen at Atlanta.
Those were relatively small numbers given the scale of the operations at those large airports.
But the numbers did indicate that winter-weather problems may be starting to affect airports that weren’t taking a direct hit from the storm.