Airlines cancel 10,000 flights and scramble to rebook passengers

An American Airlines plane freezes as high winds blow away 7.5 inches of snow in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Thursday, December 22, 2022.

Star Tribune via Getty Images | Tribune Star | beautiful pictures

Canceled flights in the United States eased somewhat on Saturday but federal officials warned that disruptions could continue as severe winter storms hamper air travel across the country before Christmas.

US-based airlines have canceled more than 10,000 flights since Wednesday, according to flight tracker FlightAware.

Bad weather and flight disruptions have upset the holiday travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people in what airlines say is one of the busiest periods since before the pandemic.

Airlines and travelers have difficulty finding alternative flights before the holiday because planes are overbooked and schedules plummet on weekends. The Federal Aviation Administration said the schedule peaked at 47,554 flights on Thursday, falling to 30,875 on Saturday and just 27,997 on Sunday, Christmas Day.

That could force airlines to issue cash refunds to travelers who decide to cancel their trips altogether because of delays.

FedEx and ups alert holiday package may arrive late due to storm.

Airlines made about 5,600 flights on Friday alone, about a quarter of their schedule, as storms swept through cities from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast, bringing threatening cold with them. lives in many areas. Federal weather forecasters have warned of dangerous road conditions due to ice and low visibility.

“Wind and snow blows could cause delays in Chicago, and wind could cause delays in and around Washington, DC, New York, Boston and Philadelphia,” the FAA said on Saturday morning. “Seattle, San Francisco and airports serving Colorado ski resorts may see delays due to low clouds and visibility.”

More than 2,200 flights on Saturday were canceled and another 5,000 delayed.

The FAA added that delays are also possible in Florida due to the high volume of seasonal flights.

A jet taxi in the snow at O’Hare International Airport on December 22, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson | beautiful pictures

Extreme cold weather and high winds also slowed operations at dozens of airports. FlightAware data shows that 58% of US flights arrive late on Friday, averaging almost 90 minutes.

Disruption stemming from the weather affects all major US aircraft carriers.

Blue Airways Jets offers to triple pay flight attendants to take trips on Saturdays.

“Winter storm Elliott caused thousands of weather-related delays and cancellations across the country,” according to a JetBlue employee memo seen by CNBC. “The Crew Member’s absenteeism rate has also increased, leaving us with more trips open for today.”

JetBlue said it would still include holiday pay for those flight attendants, under their collective bargaining agreement.

Southwest Airlineswith major operations in Chicago and Denver, canceled more than 1,300 flights, about a third of the schedule, while another 2,000, half the schedule, were delayed.

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the airline’s pilots union, said 52% of pilots had been rerouted as of Thursday.

SWAPA said ground operations managers in Denver declared an “operational emergency” on Thursday and asked employees to provide a doctor’s note when calling sick.

James Garofalo of Colorado Springs checks his cell phone after his flight was canceled at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, December 22, 2022.

Hyoung Chang | Denver Post Office | beautiful pictures

based in Seattle alaska airline canceled more than 500 flights, or 65% of its schedule, on Friday, and said planes and airport ramps were covered in thick ice, slowing operations in the Pacific Northwest.

“Despite the hardship, especially at this time of year, we strongly encourage guests to re-evaluate their travel needs due to continued icy weather and limited supplies,” it said. on Friday. “As flights are very full over the next few days, it may take a few days to accommodate guests who need new flights.”

An inside look at how the FAA and airlines deal with bad weather


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