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Airlines Cancel Hundreds of Flights Ahead of Massive Winter Storm
Weekend travel is already being disrupted by the approach of dangerous weather conditions, with a massive storm expected to bring high winds and over a foot of snow to parts of the Northeast.
Airlines have preemptively canceled hundreds of flights ahead of the system’s arrival in an effort to avoid customers and crew members finding themselves stranded on the day of their scheduled flight.
The National Weather Service today issued a winter storm warning for all regions from Maryland to Maine, CNBC News reported. There’s also a winter storm warning in effect specifically for New York City and many of its surrounding areas, and a blizzard warning issued for Boston that is set to remain in effect until Sunday morning.
As of 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, airlines had canceled 3,710 of Saturday’s flights, according to aviation tracking website FlightAware. Today’s total cancellations numbered 2,390, with New York, Chicago and Boston airports being the most heavily impacted.
The total number of departing and arriving flights canceled on Friday was 234 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), 230 at LaGuardia (LGA), 166 at Newark Liberty International (EWR), 232 at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and 141 at Boston Logan International (BOS).
When it comes to Saturday’s flight cancellations thus far, those numbers jump into the 500s and 600s for both departing and arriving flights at these same airports. Boston Logan was forced to cut more than 90 percent of its Saturday schedule, or 603 total flights. Meanwhile, LaGuardia has so far canceled around 92 percent of tomorrow’s schedule, or 529 flights.
Several major airlines are already issuing travel waivers ahead of the storm’s arrival for canceled flights to and from many East Coast cities, according to Travel + Leisure. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines have already done so. Typically, fare differences are being waived as long as replacement flights are taken within a designated time frame, and seats are the same cabin and the flight traveling between the same cities as originally booked.
Most airlines had already dropped change fees for standard economy tickets (not basic economy, though) back in 2020 when COVID-19 rendered it almost impossible for customers to make solid travel plans.