Airlines

Hundreds of flights canceled and more than 5,000 delayed as winter storm disrupts post-Thanksgiving travel

Key Points
  • More than 1,000 flights were canceled Sunday and Monday because of the storm.
  • The storm is bringing high winds, snow, rain and ice to the Northeast.
  • Airlines including Delta, American and United waived change fees.
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Winter weather slams the US as travelers face canceled and delayed flights

A big winter storm packing high wind, ice and heavy snow caused major disruptions for travelers returning from the Thanksgiving holiday at airports across the United States.

The storm was threatening to dump more than a foot of snow on upstate New York and parts of New England on Monday. New York City could get up to 3 inches and Boston could get up to 6, according to federal forecasters.

As of Monday evening, 814 flights were canceled and more than 6,200 were delayed, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com, with disruptions worsening throughout the day.

Some arriving flights into New York's LaGuardia Airport and Boston Logan International Airport were delayed two hours and more than three hours into Newark Liberty International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Newark was the hardest hit by cancellations with more than 13% of its schedule, or 190 flights, while more than a quarter of Newark and LaGuardia's flights were delayed.

The disruptions come on top of more than 950 cancellations, ranging from Boston to San Francisco, on Sunday due to stormy weather. Some 8,400 flights were delayed across the U.S. Sunday.

American Airlines waived date change-fees for travelers booked to fly on Monday and Tuesday to or from more than 30 airports in the Northeast, including LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark, Philadelphia and Boston, if travelers can fly as late as Sunday. Travelers can also cancel their trips without paying a fee. Delta, JetBlue and United issued similar waivers for travelers.

High wind can slow or halt ground operations while de-icing can also delay flights.

Weather issues over the weekend extended to the West Coast, where a storm and high wind delayed flights at San Francisco International for more than four hours. Nearly 170 flights were canceled in and out of the airport and about 40% of the airport's Sunday schedule, or 600 flights were delayed, according to Flightaware.com data.

Sunday's disruptions coincided with what trade group Airlines for America expected to be the busiest day of the year for the airline industry, with 3.1 million passengers. Airlines were expected to carry a record 31.6 million travelers during the 12 days around Thanksgiving, a nearly 4% increase from last year.

The Northeast storm is expected to last until at least Monday evening, according to forecasters.