Airlines have canceled thousands of flights this weekend as a powerful winter storm packing strong winds and many inches of snow is set to envelop major cities on the East Coast.
According to FlightAware, nearly 5,000 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled through Saturday and as of 9 AM Sunday, with East Coast hubs being the most affected. On Saturday alone more than 3,500 US flights were cancelled.
Boston’s Logan airport, which is a hub city for JetBlue and Delta Air Lines, has seen 500 cancellations this weekend. About 15% of JetBlue’s schedule has been axed Sunday, though it’s an improvement from the 70% of its schedule that was canceled on Saturday. About 18% of American’s schedule and 22% of United’s schedule for Saturday were also cancelled.
Republic Airways, a feeder carrier that operates flights under the names American Eagle, Delta Connection, and United Express, canceled 60% of its schedule Saturday.
New York City airports, including John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia, have more than 1,500 cancellations on Saturday and Sunday combined. Both of those airports have sizable operations for Delta, JetBlue and American. Newark Liberty in New Jersey, which is United’s hub, had 383 cancellations this weekend.
Delta, JetBlue and United all have issued waivers allowing travelers flying from multiple East Coast airports to rebook without paying any difference in fare.
“Delta’s meteorology team in the airline’s operation and customer center will continue to monitor the winter weather and make tactical adjustments as needed,” the airline said.
An American Airlines spokesperson said that the storm is “expected to have a significant impact on our Northeast operation, especially at Boston Logan International Airport.”
On Friday, more than 1,400 cancellations were recorded, most of them at Chicago O’Hare.
The path of this weekend’s Nor’easter is becoming clearer as 75 million people from the Southeast to New England may face dangerously heavy snow and winds approaching hurricane intensity with the potential to knock out power, flood coastal areas and severely impair travel, forecasts show.
The storm is expected to unleash a double whammy of heavy snowfall and strong winds throughout parts of the Northeast, but the exact impact across the region remains in question.
“This storm is likely to strengthen at a rate, and to an intensity, equivalent to only the most powerful hurricanes, so the high-end potential of this storm cannot be overstated,” CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said. “But with nor’easters, like in real estate, it will all come down to location, location, location.”
It’s been a miserable few weeks to be an airline traveler. Winter weather and Omicron surges left 20,000 US flights canceled over the busy holiday travel season. As travel picked up, staffing cuts also left airlines with fewer employees than they had before the pandemic.