Winter storm flight cancellations top 1,500 and disrupt holiday travel

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Air travelers felt little relief on Thursday as flight cancellations that began Wednesday stretched to another day, possibly the holiday weekend, as a severe winter storm swept through the United States, causing widespread disruption. did not.

By Thursday morning, the number of cancellations had topped 1,500 nationwide and continued to climb, according to FlightAware, a website that tracks commercial aviation. More cancellations and delays were expected on Thursday and Friday, affecting major hubs in Chicago, Denver and New York. About 600 flights were canceled on Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that major travel disruptions are expected in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. The agency said Atlanta, Boston and Denver could also experience delays due to low clouds.

About 20% of flights to and from Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Thursday have been cancelled.

Early Thursday morning, O’Hare said the airline had proactively canceled 400 flights “in anticipation of winter weather arriving in the Chicagoland area later today,” telling passengers to contact the airline for up-to-date flight information. I asked for confirmation directly.

About 25% of flights at nearby Chicago Midway International Airport have been canceled, according to FlightAware. The Denver hub had approximately 140 outbound flights canceled as of 8 a.m. Thursday.

Winter Storm Live Update: Extreme Cold Severe Across Central State

Passengers at airports in Atlanta, New York and Washington also faced disruption.

The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday will be one of the two busiest days of the season at U.S. airports, with traffic expected to be near pre-pandemic levels. (December 30th is the day after returning to Japan.)

Severe cold, snow and rain affecting the eastern two-thirds of the country are adding serious complications and safety risks to the hectic Christmas travel rush, causing families to die at the end of the third. Years of the pandemic, many Americans head to gatherings with friends and friends.

A stranded driver was rescued overnight from a closed section of Interstate 90 east of Rapid City, SD.

“Many vehicles are broken down in subzero temperatures. In these conditions, even a few minutes outside can be life-threatening,” according to a statement from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office in Rapid City. I have.

Flight Cancellation and Delay Tracking to Christmas Blizzard

More than 100 vehicles were trapped on Wednesday, and law enforcement helped move motorists to local motels and cot-lined shelters.

“Some people have chosen to stay in their vehicles and have enough fuel and supplies. We are in contact with those people in case the situation changes.” said the sheriff’s office.

More than 112 million people were expected to move more than 50 miles from home between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, according to AAA. According to AAA, most of them (about 102 million) drive cars. More than 7 million people fly, but millions more use trains and other forms of transportation. According to AAA, 2022 is likely to be his third busiest year for holiday travel since he started tracking numbers in 2000.

The massive storm has also hit intercity train and bus travel, prompting cancellations until Christmas.

Amtrak has suspended some train services on multiple Midwest and cross-country routes through Sunday. According to the railroad, these measures are being taken “with great care and in consultation with state transportation departments, host railroads, emergency managers and weather forecasters.”

Long-haul flights to and from Chicago are suspended, including Empire Builder, Cardinal, Capitol Limited, Southwest Chief and Lake Shore Limited. Passengers are asked to check train status before heading to the station. Amtrak said those affected will be able to rebook and will be waived of change and cancellation fees.

As of Thursday morning, railroad officials said operations on the Northeast Corridor, the busiest rail line in the country, would continue as planned. However, if the corridor situation deteriorates, it may be canceled.

Winter storms causing dangerous blizzards, high winds and arctic cold

Bus operators have warned passengers of possible cancellations and delays at a time when intercity bus travel is expected to be one of the busiest weekends in years. More than 3.6 million people are expected to travel by bus, rail and cruise ship between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, according to AAA, up 23% from last year.

Greyhound, the largest intercity bus service provider in the United States, canceled services on more than 20 routes in the Midwest on Wednesday and Thursday. Many of the affected trips are from Denver, Kansas City, Missouri, Minneapolis and Chicago.

President Biden told reporters ahead of a December 22 briefing on Winter Storm Elliott. (Video: Washington Post)

“The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and we ask for your patience,” the company said.

Coach USA, which operates more than 20 bus companies, including Megabus, said it was informing passengers affected by the cancellation on how to reschedule their trip or request a refund.

Here are the forecasts for 10 cities in the path of the blizzard for the week of Christmas

“As with all potential situations, we are closely monitoring several upcoming storms,” ​​spokeswoman Meghan O’Hare said Wednesday. “Safety is always our top priority.” We will post a service advisory on our website with specific information if driving conditions are such that we need to cancel your trip for your safety.”

Southwest Airlines said Wednesday afternoon it had canceled about 500 flights, about 12% of its operations. The airline said it was curtailing operations primarily in Denver and Chicago Midway.

American Airlines said late Wednesday it was monitoring the storm and expected it to affect airports in the Midwest, Northeast and East Coast. That’s about 2% of the world’s business.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines, the four largest US airlines, have flexible change policies for travelers.

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