Massive winter storm grounds thousands of flights across the U.S.

Key Points
  • It was the second time in a week that travelers were hit with mass cancellations due to winter weather.
  • More than 4,000 flights were canceled for Thursday.
  • The two major airports serving Dallas and Fort Worth were among the most affected.
Snow and ice are cleared outside a parked plane at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.
LM Otero | AP

Airlines canceled thousands of flights for the second time in a week ahead of a massive winter storm that's forecast to impact areas from Texas to New England.

More than 2,200 U.S. flights were canceled on Wednesday and more than 4,000 scheduled for Thursday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.

The National Weather Service said heavy freezing rain is expected to accumulate from Texas through the Ohio River Valley as well as heavy snow through the Upper Midwest.

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 490 Wednesday flights, or 15% of its schedule, and 940 flights, or 27%, scheduled for Thursday, according to FlightAware. It suspended flights at its home hub of Dallas Love Field on Thursday. American Airlines canceled 860 mainline flights scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. More than half of the departures scheduled for Thursday from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, American's biggest hub, were canceled.

Airlines including Southwest, American, Delta and United said they would waive fare differences for travelers who plan to rebook flights in the coming days because of the storm.

Last week, airlines scrubbed more than 4,000 U.S. flights due to another storm that hit the Northeast. Carriers generally cancel flights ahead of large weather systems to avoid passengers and crews getting stranded at airports, making it easier to reset the operation the following day.