Powerful winter storm grounds nearly 3,000 flights
Scott Eisen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A traveler checks a departure board at Logan International Airport (BOS) in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. The worst storm of the winter season has knocked out power to thousands and canceled almost 3,000 flights.
A powerful winter storm carrying snow and heavy wind grounded nearly 3,000 flights in the U.S. on Thursday.
Airlines had canceled hundreds of lights before the storm reached the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, a United Airlines hub, was most affected with 856 canceled flights, nearly 70 percent of its schedule, according to FlightAware, a plane-tracking website. At Boston Logan International Airport, a hub of JetBlue and an important airport for business travel, 685 flights were canceled.
A total of 2,944 flights were called off due to the storm, the site said.
The storm is expected to whip the region with high winds, snow and then record low temperatures.
Airlines waived change fees for travelers booked to impacted airports this week.
Delta Air Lines said passengers booked to fly Thursday or Friday from airports in the Northeast can depart as late as Jan. 8 without paying a change fee. JetBlue said it was waiving change fees and fare differences for passengers affected by the storm.
American Airlines issued a similar waiver for more than a dozen airports in the Northeast. The largest U.S. airline is also waiving change fees for travel from 14 airports in the South, including Savannah and Raleigh, due to the storm. A record-setting blast of cold is expected to follow the system.
Southwest Airlines warned travelers that flights to and from 19 East Coast airports may be canceled, delayed or diverted due to the storm and encouraged travelers to change their travel dates.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it had 524 pieces of snow equipment at the area’s airports that can melt up to 500 tons of snow an hour but some flights may still be canceled due to high winds and poor visibility.
Airlines frequently offer travelers a chance to change their travel dates far in advance of a storm in an effort to avoid chaos at the airport, where travelers may be stranded, and to prevent a crush of frustrated travelers from overloading their employees.