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Travelers stuck by not so super getaway weather

Monday, 3 Feb 2014 | 12:28 PM ET
Costly flight disruptions
Monday, 3 Feb 2014 | 1:06 PM ET
CNBC's Phil LeBeau speaks to Josh Marks, CEO of Mas Flights, about the growing number of cancellations.

While football fans couldn't have been luckier with the unseasonably tolerable weather during the Super Bowl, luck ran out Monday as snow and ice returned to the Northeast, disrupting travel in the air and on the roads and rails.

"This morning is off to a rough start for the Northeast,," FlightAware CEO Daniel Baker said in an email to CNBC. He said hardest hit were Philadelphia and Newark-Liberty airports and regional airlines that operate for United, US Airways and American.

By midday EST, more than 1,500 flights were canceled and 4,100 delayed. (See the latest air travel status here.) The National Weather Service said the storm could bring up to 8 inches of snow Monday to Philadelphia and New York, along with temperatures in the 30s.

(Read more: Snow alert: Three storms to pound US this week)

Those on the private jets were not spared the pain.

"If you left during or right after the game, things went smoothly," Jeff Trance, senior vice president of Air Partner, said in an email to CNBC. "The poor quality of the Super Bowl resulted in early departures, and relatively good weather helped alleviate big delays out of Teterboro (N.J.) after the game. However, those who scheduled a morning departure to avoid the post-game rush are ironically feeling the pain of departure delays and steep de-icing costs due to the snow."

Andrew Collins, president of Sentient Jet, said some of his company's private jets were able to avoid the worst of the departure delays by using smaller airports in the New York region.

He said his company was seeing an unusual number of "pop up" flights—those made with little advance notice and subject to higher prices—from the New York City area due to commercial cancellations.

File photo of planes being de-iced at New York's LaGuardia.
Getty Images
File photo of planes being de-iced at New York's LaGuardia.

The February mess comes on the heels of a very bad January, when weather disruptions cost passengers more than $2.5 billion and airlines between $75 million to $150 million, according to masFlight, a cloud-based data and software company specializing in airline operations.

About 30 million passengers ran into canceled and delayed flights last month, according to the report released Monday by masFlight.

Regional airlines were hit the hardest, with more than 32,000 cancellations and 130,000 delayed flights in January. The larger airlines logged 17,000 cancellations and 170,000 flights delayed, with JetBlue hit especially hard.

(Read more: Private jets in scrimmage for Super Bowl slots)

In addition to the air travel problems, some buses and trains were slowed Monday as well.

MegaBus used its Tumblr account to post its weather-related cancellations due to hazardous roads, including routes from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Amtrak said its Northeast Corridor trains were running normally.

But New Jersey Transit tweeted that its buses and trains were experiencing delays due to the snow. Some buses were stuck and its Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line trains were further delayed due to a disabled train.

The Monday morning mess came on the heels of Sunday night's post-game mass transit nightmare. Because a higher-than-expected number of people used trains to get to the game, platforms couldn't handle the volume afterward and thousands had to stay in the stadium for hours. But NJ Transit saw it in another light: "In the first ever #TransitBowl, we successfully & safely moved 4x as many fans as projected by NFL days before #SB48 (more than 33,000,)" @NJTransit tweeted.

—By CNBC's Amy Langfield. Follow her on Twitter at @AmyLangfield. CNBC's Phil Lebeau contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

Follow Road Warrior on Twitter at @CNBCtravel.

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