Hundreds of flights canceled ahead of winter 'bomb cyclone'

Key Points
  • American, Delta and Southwest are waiving change fees ahead of the storm.
  • The powerful storm is expected to bring heavy winds, snow, ice and then brutal cold to the East Coast of the U.S.
  • Hundreds of flights have been canceled because of the so-called bomb cyclone.
Winter storm warning in effect for most of eastern seaboard

Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights as a powerful winter storm climbs up the East Coast.

The storm is expected to whip the region with high winds, snow and then record low temperatures.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 500 flights to or from Boston Logan International Airport, a hub of JetBlue, had been canceled, according to FlightAware, a plane-tracking site. More than 900 flights were canceled in and out of the main three New York City-area airports.

Delta Air Lines said passengers booked to fly Thursday or Friday from a dozen airports in the Northeast can depart as late as Jan. 8 without paying a change fee. They may be charged a difference in fare, however, the airline said.

American Airlines issued a similar waiver for more than a dozen airports in the Northeast. The largest U.S. airline is also waiving change fees for travel from 14 airports in the South, including Savannah and Raleigh, due to the storm. A record-setting blast of cold is expected to follow the system.

Southwest Airlines warned travelers that flights to and from 19 East Coast airports may be canceled, delayed or diverted due to the storm and encouraged travelers to change their travel dates.

Dozens of flights were canceled across the Southeast on Wednesday, according to FlightAware.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it had 524 pieces of snow equipment at the area's airports that can melt up to 500 tons of snow an hour but some flights may still be canceled due to high winds and poor visibility.

Airlines frequently offer travelers a chance to change their travel dates far in advance of a storm in an effort to avoid chaos at the airport, where travelers may be stranded, and to prevent a crush of frustrated travelers from overloading their employees.