Airlines Cancel Thousands of Flights as Severe Weather Disrupts Travel

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Airlines canceled more than 3,000 more flights on Friday after severe winter storms disrupted travel during some of the busiest travel days leading up to the Christmas holidays.

More than 6,000 flights to, from, and within the US have been scrapped since Wednesday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware, following Friday’s eastward trajectory of the storm.

Severe cold weather in the Midwest, high winds from Boston to Atlanta, and snow and ice in the Pacific Northwest posed new challenges to airline operations on Friday. New York, Detroit, Chicago, Portland and Seattle airports all faced high numbers of cancellations.

A period of relative calm is interrupted when a storm arrives during a busy and stressful holiday week. The airline struggled with a rapid rebound in travel demand earlier this year, sparking criticism from lawmakers and regulators, but took steps to stabilize operations.

Heavy snow, as well as high winds and dangerously low temperatures, could pose problems, according to airlines, making it difficult to de-ice planes, keeping runways clear and creating a hazard for employees working outside the airport. brings.

Alaska Airlines Group Ltd.

Forecasts of freezing rain in Portland and Seattle from Thursday night through Friday could cause further problems, he said. Freezing rain, which takes longer to remove ice than snow, can significantly slow or even stop flights, airlines said.

Aircraft de-icing is a collaborative effort with multiple steps and a race against time. A United Airlines de-icing expert explains the process and why it’s important to keep planes moving.Photo illustration: Preston Jesse for The Wall Street Journal

To avoid stranded passengers and employees, airlines have begun urging customers to book early flights and proactively cancel before storms hit.

This allowed some passengers to keep their vacation plans. Tony Katzler was traveling from Billings, Montana to Florida to go on a cruise. A series of delays and canceled connections threatened our trip. Deltagate agents were able to help his group find a new flight from Salt Lake City to Fort Lauderdale.

As the chaos continues, many are still in a rush to reschedule or plan new courses. Cassidy Hooven and her partner moved their flights from Denver from Friday to Wednesday to avoid the storm. The plane didn’t make it in time, but their checked luggage remained on board after they got off the plane.

“I spent most of my day rescheduling, getting my refund, and finally finding my checked bag,” she said Thursday. I had booked another flight to Columbus and wasn’t sure if it would take off.

Yadiel Placencia was planning to fly back to Northern California starting Wednesday, but has been stuck in Orlando, Florida after numerous cancellations, delays and several attempts to rebook.

During about 12 hours at the Orlando airport on Thursday, she witnessed more and more flights being canceled and potential return routes closed. She took a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday night, but she was late and missed her connecting flight. She is booked on another flight on Friday morning.

she said: I am my mother’s only daughter and I always help her cook. ”

Write to Alison Sider at [email protected].

We will update you as the news develops.

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