Airlines cutting Monday flights after blizzard

A traveler speaks on the phone as he views the arrival and departure board Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, at San Francisco International airport in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Officials say planes may soon start flying again at airports in New Jersey and New York City.

But passengers are being urged to check with their carriers before they head out, because many flights scheduled for Sunday have been delayed or cancelled.

Port Authority officials say LaGuardia, JFK, Newark Liberty and Atlantic City airports remained open during Saturday's monster snowstorm. But nearly all flights were cancelled due to the snow and strong winds.



Officials also note that most airlines continue to offer fee waivers for passengers who want to switch to flights later in the week.

After cancelling nearly 7,000 weekend flights, airlines have started to cut Monday service as the ripple effects of driving snow and ice that brought many East Coast airports to a standstill drifted into the next work week.

Flight cancelations for Monday for all airlines stood at 615 as of early Sunday morning, but FlightAware said that is sure to rise.



The bulk of Saturday's 4,459 cancelations were at airports in the New York City and Washington, D.C., metro areas, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Another 2,467 flights were canceled for Sunday, and the count keeps rising.

As the storm intensified, United Airlines announced it would not operate out of airports in the Washington area on Sunday. Service should gradually resume Monday, the airline said. "Very limited" service would restart Sunday afternoon at airports in the New York City area.

Since Friday, the number of cancelled flights has topped 10,000. Cancelations have centered on Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Washington and New York, with airlines essentially shutting down all flights into those cities.

One bit of good news was that Saturday is usually the slowest travel day of the week. There were a little more than 22,000 flights scheduled to, from or within the U.S., according to FlightAware. That's about 5,000 fewer flights - and 400,000 fewer passengers - than Thursday or Friday.

Amtrak also canceled or cut back on service. Several trains scheduled to depart Washington for New York City were canceled, as was service from Washington to stations in Virginia and the Southeast, according to Amtrak's website.

All major airlines issued waivers for travel over the weekend, allowing passengers to rebook onto earlier or later flights to avoid the storms. The airports included vary by airline, but they include cities in Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia all the way up the coast to New Hampshire and Massachusetts. As of late Friday night, American Airlines alone had issued waivers for 42 airports.

Passengers looking to cancel trips should wait until the airline officially calls off the flight. Airlines have been much more proactive in recent years about canceling flights, often doing so up to a day in advance. More travelers are affected, but they aren't stuck waiting in airports. It also lets airlines restart the system quicker because they have planes and crews in place.

If your flight is canceled and maybe you are stuck at the airport, consider taking these actions:

- If your flight is canceled - and you are at the airport - get in line to speak to a customer service representative. But also call the airline directly. If the phone lines are jammed, try the airline's overseas numbers. You'll pay long-distance rates but might not have to wait. (Put those numbers in your phone now.) Finally, consider sending a tweet to the airline.

- There are more to airline lounges than free drinks and lights snacks. The real secret to the lounges is that the airline staffs them with some of its best - and friendliest - ticket agents. The lines are shorter and these agents are magically able to find empty seats. So consider buying a one-day pass. It typically costs $50, but discounts can sometimes be found in advance online.

- If weather causes cancellations, use apps like HotelTonight and Priceline to find last-minute hotel discounts for that night. Warning: Many of the rooms are nonrefundable when booked, so lock in only once you are stuck.

Information from the Associated Press
Related Topics:
weatherair travelsnowstormblizzard of 2016blizzard
(Copyright ©2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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