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Friday flight cancellations exceed 3,500, disrupting holiday travel

(CNN) — Winter weather continues to disrupt holiday travel across the United States on Friday, leaving travelers facing delays and cancellations during one of the busiest times of the year.

More than 3,500 Friday flights have already been canceled as of 10 a.m. ET, following nearly 2,700 cancellations on Thursday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

Cancellations are highest at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, New York’s LaGuardia, and Chicago and Detroit, according to FlightAware data.

The FAA noted early Friday that it may have to halt or restrict traffic at airports in the Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington areas.

Chicago and Denver airports saw the bulk of cancellations and delays on Thursday. Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Thursday recorded average delays of nearly three hours due to snow and ice.

Airlines have issued winter weather waivers allowing passengers to book free of charge within a limited time frame. Find links to airline waivers and other airline strategies here.

Growing cancellations are making it harder for passengers racing against time and weather to book and arrive in time for Christmas. This year, flights were already busier than before, even before the storm disrupted travel schedules.

“We hear that the volume of travel is still down, by 5 or 10%, but what many people may not have realized is that the number of flights in the sky has actually decreased. 15% or 20%,” said Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights. told CNN.

“Planes that actually fly are fuller today than they were before the pandemic. That’s why there aren’t as many empty seats to fall into if you find your flight is canceled or delayed. “, said Keyes.

Train and bus services are also affected

Amtrak was also forced to delay or cancel passenger service for some routes in the Midwest and Northeast.

Click here for more details on disruptions to train service.

In its advisory, Amtrak said “customers with reservations on trains being changed will generally be accommodated on trains with similar departure times or on a different day.

“Amtrak will waive the additional fee for customers wishing to change their reservation during the changed schedule by calling our reservations center at 1-800-USA-RAIL.”

Meanwhile, Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus services, issued a service alert late Thursday saying trips to the Midwest or Northeast could be canceled or halted.

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

Winter weather is also impacting services from regional intercity bus company Jefferson Lines, which operates in 14 states.

In an alert posted on its website, the company canceled nearly 30 routes for Friday, with some cancellations listed on Saturday and Sunday. Cities affected by the cancellations include Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Duluth and Kansas City.
Affected travelers can check the Bus Tracker or call 1-858-800-8898.

Top image: Travelers arrive for their flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on December 22, 2022. Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

Pete Muntean, Gregory Wallace, Rebekah Riess, Danielle Sills, Marnie Hunter, Ross Levitt, Dave Hennen, Paul P. Murphy and Carol Alvarado contributed to this report.

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