Airlines cancel thousands of flights as big storm advances
The airlines hope to be back to a full schedule by Sunday afternoon
Airlines canceled around 7,600 flights to, from or within the U.S. for Friday and Saturday, as a blizzard began covering much of the Eastern U.S.
The bulk of Friday’s 3,500 cancelations are in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Another 4,100 flights were canceled for Saturday. Those cancelations center on Philadelphia, Washington, and New York, with airlines essentially shutting down all flights into those cities.
By Sunday afternoon, however, the airlines hope to be back to a full schedule to handle the typical influx of business travelers heading out to start a week on the road.
Overall, the airlines have canceled about 15 percent of their scheduled flights in the U.S. for Friday and Saturday.
One bit of good news
Saturday is the slowest travel day of the week. There are a little more than 22,000 flights scheduled to, from or within the U.S., according to FlightAware. That’s about 5,000 fewer flights – and 400,000 fewer passengers - than on Thursday or Friday.
All major airlines have issued waivers for travel over the weekend, allowing passengers to rebook onto earlier or later flights to avoid the storms. The airports included vary by airline but include some cities in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia all the way up the coast to New Hampshire and Massachusetts. American Airlines alone has issued waivers for 42 airports.
For those looking to instead cancel their trips, they need to wait until the airline officially cancels their flight. Airlines have been much more proactive in recent years about canceling flights, often doing so up to a day in advance. More travelers are impacted but they aren’t stuck waiting in airports. It also lets airlines restart the system quicker because they have planes and crews in place.