Arctic blast disrupts holiday travel, canceling or delaying thousands of flights

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An arctic cold front crosses Texas and the Great Plains early in the morning, disrupting vacation travel and canceling or delaying thousands of flights at major US airports.

About 1,700 flights had been canceled and another 2,500 delayed by Thursday morning, according to tracking site FlightAware.

Travelers wait to pass through a security checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.(Nam Y. Huh/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The disruption is being felt most at Denver and Chicago airports, where about 500 flights to and from busy O’Hare International Airport and about 250 flights at Midway Airport have been cancelled. Denver International reported over 450 cancellations. Both Midway and Denver are major hubs for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines.

About 100 flights have been delayed and 43 canceled at DFW International Airport. Over 30 flights have been delayed or canceled at Dallas Love Field.

Here’s how early you should arrive at DFW, and other major airports, for your vacation flights.

Love Field estimates that more than 500,000 travelers will board Southwest Airlines flights between Thursday and January 3, airport spokeswoman Lauren Rounds said. increase.

Rounds said he doesn’t expect a large number of cancellations or delays. But if travelers have to stay overnight, the airport is ready to accommodate them, she said.

The Love Field crew is ready to handle roads and runways if necessary, but heavy rainfall is not expected in the Dallas area. “There are no major concerns,” he said Rounds.

The airport encourages people to check with the airline before arriving at Love Field, arrive early, have their bags checked, and drive patiently through security.

Friday is one of the busiest days, with 4.1 million travelers expected to land at DFW International Airport throughout the holiday season.

Millions of people are expected to travel primarily by car during the winter holidays. The storm is so large and widespread that about 190 million people nationwide have received some kind of winter weather advisory, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters are forecasting heavy snow, ice, flooding and high winds from Thursday through Saturday for large parts of the country, from the plains and Midwest to the East Coast. A surge of Arctic air follows. Christmas weekend may be the coldest in decades.

3 important questions when your flight is canceled or delayed

Authorities across the country are concerned about possible power outages and are taking precautionary measures to protect the homeless, the elderly and livestock, and warning people to postpone travel if possible.

Earlier this month, the AAA estimated that nearly 113 million people will travel more than 50 miles from their homes between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. This is a record for 2019, he is still short of 119 million, but up 4% from last year.

It is expected to be the third busiest holiday travel season since AAA began tracking data in 2000.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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