Airlines cancel more than 3,000 flights as a snowstorm approaches the Northeast

  • Most departures at LaGuardia, Newark on Wednesday are canceled.
  • The nor'easter could bring more than a foot of snow to parts of the Northeast.
  • Airlines are waiving date-change fees for travelers affected by the storm.
The tarmac of La Guardia Airport is cleared during a winter storm in the Queens borough of New York City. (File photo).
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The tarmac of La Guardia Airport is cleared during a winter storm in the Queens borough of New York City. (File photo).

Airlines have canceled more than 3,000 flights scheduled for Wednesday as an early spring nor'easter threatens to dump more than a foot of snow and bring high winds to parts of the Northeast.

Two-thirds of the scheduled departures from Newark Liberty International Airport, or 418 flights, were called off for Wednesday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. More than half of departures from LaGuardia were also canceled.

Other affected airports include Philadelphia, all New York City-area airports, those in the Washington area and in Boston.

Carriers including American, Delta, United and JetBlue said travelers scheduled to fly on Tuesday or Wednesday from a dozen airports along the East Coast can change travel dates to as late as March 25 without paying a date-change fee. If travelers can only change their tickets beyond that date, they may have to pay a difference in fare.

Airplanes can generally fly in snow without a problem, but some flights can be called off in an effort to avoid accidents if visibility is low, winds are high, or if runway conditions are unsafe. Airlines also cancel flights ahead of time to avoid stranding crews and passengers, which can lead to a cascade of delays later on.