WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Airlines canceled more than 5,000 U.S. flights on Friday as a massive winter storm disrupted airport operations across the U.S. and frustrated tens of thousands of vacationers.
According to flight tracking website FlightAware, the cancellations followed about 2,700 canceled flights on Thursday, with about 500 already canceled on Saturday.
Amtrak has canceled dozens of trains until Christmas, disrupting vacation travel for thousands of people.
Many highways in the Midwest face long delays due to snow weather and crashes, and police in the Indiana area urged drivers to avoid non-essential travel in the northwestern part of the state.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has imposed ground stops or delays for deicing at many US airports due to winter weather.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN that the U.S. aviation system is “operating in a very tense state” with two different storms and high winds affecting airports across the country. Buttigieg said about 10% of U.S. flights were canceled on Thursday.
An additional 8,000 US flights, including more than 32% of flights operated by American Airlines (AAL.O), United Airlines (UAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) I was late for Friday. .
Southwest Airlines canceled 951 flights on Friday, almost a quarter of all scheduled flights, while Alaska Airlines (ALK.N) canceled 445 of its flights, or 57%.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has canceled 303 flights, or 54% of departures, as of 2:30 PM PST. Early on Friday, the FAA announced a ground stop due to snow and ice.
Detroit Metro canceled over 40% of its departures, Portland canceled 67%, New York’s LaGuardia 36%, Boston 27% and Chicago O’Hare 25%.
Chicago is facing dangerously cold temperatures, with the National Weather Service warning wind chills can reach minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 34 degrees Celsius).
Reported by David Shepardson. Edited by Josie Kao, Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler
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