Airlines cancel thousands of flights as Texas ice storm threatens worsening conditions

Key Points
  • Airlines canceled thousands of U.S. flights this week.
  • Ice, snow and freezing rain have disrupted thousands of flights this week.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field shared the majority of Wednesday's cancellations.

In this article

An EMS vehicle drives down an icy highway as cold weather moves through Dallas, Texas, U.S., January 31, 2023.
REUTERS/Shelby Tauber

Airlines canceled another 2,000 U.S. flights on Wednesday as a severe winter storm coated roads in ice and knocked out power in parts of Texas, as federal forecasters warned of worsening conditions.

More than 1,300 flights to and from American Airlines' hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were canceled, about 75% of the airport's schedule, according to flight tracker FlightAware.

American proactively canceled flights due to the weather. Even if runways are cleared and it's safe for planes to take off, dangerous road conditions can impede employees and passengers from getting to the airport.

Airlines routinely cancel flights ahead of time so travelers and crews don't end up stranded at the airport, which can make it harder to recover from a storm.

More than 380 flights at Dallas Love Field, where Southwest Airlines is based, were canceled, amounting to about 70% of the airport's schedule. More than 40% of the schedule at Austin's main airport was canceled.

The National Weather Service issued an ice storm warning for the Dallas-Fort Worth area and other parts of Texas until 9 a.m. CT on Thursday.

"Conditions will worsen today," the warning said. "Travel could be nearly impossible through Wednesday night. Dangerous travel conditions will continue into Thursday morning."

Close to 2,000 U.S. flights were canceled on Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration slowed arrivals into both airports. Airlines lifted fees or fare differences for travelers affected by the weather if they can fly in early February instead.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport warned travelers about dangerous road conditions and closures heading to the airport.

Airlines canceled more than 1,100 U.S. flights on Monday, about 4.6%, the biggest share since year-end holiday disruptions, according to FlightAware data.