Air Travel Chaos Extends Into Thursday

10:51 AM, Dec 27, 2012   |    comments
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The holiday air travel nightmare will continue for at least one more day.

The winter storm that's snarled flights from coast to coast this week is about to head offshore, but not before it brings wind, rain, snow and poor visibility to airports in the Northeast.

Already today (Thursday), more than 370 U.S. flights have been canceled. Not all can be directly attributed to the storm, but most come at airports that have suffered the storm's effects during the past 72 hours.

Coupled with the count from Christmas Day and Wednesday, the three-day cancellation tally from this storm now stands at nearly 2,300. Throw in the pre-Christmas storm in which airlines axed more than 1,800 flights last Thursday (Dec. 20) and Friday (Dec .21), and holiday fliers have now endured more than 4,000 cancellations during the Christmas week.

Of particular concern to fliers today will be the three New York City-area airports as well as Philadelphia. Long delays and cancellations are possible at the delay-prone airports, with wind and low clouds in the forecast for much of today.

As of 8:30 a.m. ET, 76 combined arrivals and departures had been canceled so far today at Philadelphia, a hub for US Airways. At LaGuardia - a hub for Delta - the total stands at 45. At Newark, a United hub, the total is 42 as of 8:30 a.m. ET. And at New York JFK - a hub for American, Delta and JetBlue - 25 flights have been axed as of 8:30.

And, as travelers know all too well these days, problems in New York and Philadelphia often ripple out to create problems at airports elsewhere in the country.

Already, as of 8:20 a.m. ET this morning, the Federal Aviation Administration's flight delay map shows delays averaging anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour at Philadelphia (visibility) and New York LaGuardia (wind). Another trouble spot: Fort Lauderdale, where runway construction is a factor in delays averaging as much as 90 minutes.

The flight-delay map at flight-tracking service FlightStats shows a more ominous picture, indicating moderate to severe disruptions at most major airports in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Other airports suffering significant cancellation totals as of 8:30 a.m. ET: Dallas/Fort Worth (29 combined arrivals and departures canceled); Boston (23); Charlotte (23); Buffalo (19); Hartford, Conn. (17) and Burlington, Vt. (17).

The number of cancellations is expected to grow throughout the day at airports in the Northeast, and the cascading effect will likely be felt at dozens of other airports across the nation.

USA Today

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