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Thursday flight cancellations exceed 2,400 nationwide, disrupting holiday travel



CNN

Snow, rain, ice, wind and freezing temperatures are disrupting air travel plans across the United States as well as Amtrak bus and passenger train service.

Airlines canceled more than 2,400 US flights by 9 p.m. ET on Thursday and proactively canceled more than 2,200 flights for Friday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. Even for Saturday, more than 125 flights have already been canceled.

The delays were even bigger on Thursday: more than 9,300 at 9 p.m. ET.

The impacts are being felt the most in Chicago and Denver, where about a quarter of arrivals and departures — hundreds of flights at each airport — were canceled Thursday, according to FlightAware data.

At one point Thursday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, delays averaging 159 minutes — nearly three hours — were caused by snow and ice, according to a notice from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Temperatures at the O’Hare dropped to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celsius) around 6:45 p.m. local time. Light snow and fog/fog were reported by the National Weather Service.

The FAA said planes departing from Dallas Love, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Minneapolis airports require de-icing fluid spray for safe travel.

In the busy New York metropolitan area, the FAA has warned that flights from Newark should expect delays due to visibility issues.

The region’s three major airports are warning all travelers that the impending winter weather front could disrupt travel.

“Flight activity at #LaGuardiaAirport may be disrupted by heavy rain and high winds later today and Friday. Travelers, please confirm flight status with your airline before traveling to the airport” , LaGuardia Airport said on Twitter.John F. Kennedy and Newark Airport also posted similar notices.

Many airlines have issued weather waivers allowing travelers to change their routes without penalty during a short window.

For those whose flights are yet to fly, the Transportation Security Administration recommends passengers arrive at the airport earlier than usual.

John Busch, director of federal security for the TSA at Reagan National Airport, told reporters that all airports “expect to be busier this holiday season than we have been in several years at the out of the pandemic. We have already seen some of our busiest days, yesterday and today, and we might expect Friday the 30th before the New Year holidays to be a very busy day as well.

But Busch added that the TSA is “very well prepared to handle additional volume and throughput for our security checkpoints.”

Maria Ihekwaba, who was traveling from Chicago to Clear Lake, Iowa, with her granddaughter Thursday morning, told CNN she was trying to leave as soon as possible.

“Especially when you travel from Chicago, you never know what might happen in Chicago because it’s the Windy City,” Ihekwaba said.

Traveler Kari Lucas, from San Diego, told CNN she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law, but cut the trip short because she didn’t want to get caught up in the impending weather.

“I was worried because San Diego, we don’t have these snowstorms,” ​​she said. “So I don’t like him being stuck in the airport for long periods of time.”

“It seemed like the best choice to make right now,” she said.

It is not just flights that are affected by the bomb cyclone.

Greyhound issued a service alert on Thursday warning customers that those traveling to the Midwest over the next two days could see their trips delayed or canceled.

Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus services, has listed more than a dozen cities from West Virginia to Minnesota among those affected. They understand:

• Charleston, West Virginia
• Chicago
• Cleveland
• Dallas
• Danville, Illinois
• Davenport, Iowa
• Denver
• Detroit
• Indianapolis
• Kansas City
• Minneapolis
• Saint Louis
• Wichita, Kansas

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

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

Click here for reported rail service disruptions from 5 p.m. Thursday.

In its notice, Amtrak said that “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.”

FedEx says it is monitoring winter weather and has “contingency plans in place to keep our team members safe and mitigate any impact” on Christmas deliveries.

“In anticipation of severe weather, we have repositioned assets so that we can provide service where and when it is safe,” FedEx told CNN in a statement.

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