United Flight Cancellations Spike After Storm

United Airlines
Jacquelyn Martin
United Airlines

United Airlines, recovering from a storm that pounded its Chicago hub over the weekend, canceled more flights Wednesday as it works to get planes and staff back on schedule.

According to data fromFlightStats.com, which tracks airline performance, United canceled 121 flights Wednesday, after calling off 318 flights on Tuesday and 146 on Monday.

United spokesman Jeff Kovick said the No. 2 U.S. carrier canceled "less than 5 percent" of its planned flights Wednesday, due to "a residual impact from this weekend's weather in Chicago and the Midwest."

United , a unit of UAL, declined to specify the number of flights canceled.

American Airlines, which also operates a large hub in Chicago, had fewer grounded flights. American canceled three flights on Wednesday and a combined 56 on Monday and Tuesday.

American had canceled 24 flights on Sunday, compared to United's 65 cancellations, according to FlightStats data.

The spate of cancellations comes amid increased scrutiny on airline performance after the industry hit a low point in terms of delays over the summer.

The worsening reliability of airlines led New York state to pass legislation aimed at improving service.

Meanwhile, customer groups have been clamoring for a national passenger bill of rights.

After a winter storm pounded the Midwest over the weekend, United said it worked late into early Monday morning in order to get customers to their destinations.

But the plan put planes and staff out of position, forcing the cancellations on the less-traveled days of Christmas Eve and Christmas, when it was easier to rebook passengers.

"We were better able to accommodate all of our customers by proceeding with those plans," United's Kovick said.