Friday flight cancellations top 4,400, disrupting holiday travel

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Forrest Brown and Carla Cripps, CNN

(CNN) — Winter weather continues to disrupt vacation trips across the US on Friday, with travelers facing delays and cancellations during one of the busiest times of the year. .

As of 2 p.m. ET, more than 4,400 flights were canceled on Friday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware, after nearly 2,700 on Thursday.

According to FlightAware, Thursday’s cancellations accounted for about 11% of scheduled flights for US-based airlines, with about half of flights delayed on Thursday.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, New York’s LaGuardia and Chicago had the most cancellations on Friday, according to FlightAware data.

In addition to cancellations, there were approximately 5,750 delayed flights that were still departing as of 2pm ET.

New York’s Buffalo Niagara International Airport had to completely shut down flights.

“Buffalo Airport Airfield CLOSED DUE TO DANGEROUS WEATHER CONDITIONS,” tweeted, with all flights scheduled for the evening canceled. Airport official Twitter account.

ground stop

The Federal Aviation Administration announced a ground stop Friday morning for flights to American Airlines’ secondary hub, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, and Reagan National Airport near Washington, DC.

In the Pacific Northwest, flights to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Portland International Airport were also grounded Friday morning due to snow and ice, the FAA said.

The FAA says the change in atmospheric pressure associated with this storm will create strong winds at airports from Boston to Atlanta.

Chicago and Denver airports saw a ton of cancellations and delays on Thursday. Snow and ice at Chicago O’Hare International Airport averaged about three hours of delays on Thursday.

storm is bad timing

Arctic explosions and rapidly intensifying winter storms have come at an unfortunate time for travelers looking to join family and friends for the holidays.

Airlines have issued winter weather waivers that allow passengers to rebook for free for a limited period of time. See here for links to airline disclaimers and other air travel strategies.

The increase in cancellations is making it difficult for passengers to rebook and arrive in time for Christmas against the clock and weather. This year’s flights were busier than before, even before the storm disrupted travel schedules.

“We hear that travel is still down by 5-10%, but many people may not realize it, but the number of flights in the air is actually down by 15-20%. It means there is,” Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flight told CNN.

“The planes that are actually flying today are more packed than they were before the pandemic, so there aren’t as many empty seats to switch to if a flight is canceled or delayed,” Keys said.

Train and bus services are also a hit

Amtrak has also been forced to delay or cancel passenger service on some routes in the Midwest and Northeast.

Click here for details on railway suspension

“Customers who have reservations for trains that are being changed will generally be accommodated for trains with similar departure times or on different dates,” Amtrak said in a notice.

“Amtrak will waive the surcharge for customers attempting to modify reservations during the modified schedule by calling the Reservations Center at 1-800-USA-RAIL.”

Meanwhile, Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus service, issued a service alert Thursday night, indicating that travel in the Midwest or northern Northeast may be canceled or suspended.

In the alert posted here, the company lists nearly 20 cities as affected. Passengers are encouraged to check for the latest information on specific trips.

Greyhound said riders can call 1-833-233-8507 to reschedule.

Winter weather is also impacting service for local intercity bus company Jefferson Lines, which operates in 14 states.

In an alert posted on its website, the company lists about 30 routes canceled on Friday and several on Saturday and Sunday. Cities affected by cancellations include Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Duluth and Kansas City.

Affected travelers should refer to Bus Tracker or call 1-858-800-8898.

Above: Travelers arrive at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 22, 2022. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images)

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