Over 5,600 Flights Cancelled Due to Storm

Airlines canceled nearly 4,400 cancellations Thursday, with another 1,200 on Friday, after a massive snowstorm disrupted travel plans up and down the East Coast a day earlier. Dozens of flights were diverted as white-out conditions of blowing snow and high winds Thursday closed New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, and greatly curtailed flights at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Flights resumed at JFK Airport at 7 a.m. this morning, but fliers are urged to contact their airlines for information on resumption of specific flights before going to the airport. LaGuardia and Boston Logan International Airport each began the day with one runway open, and each planned to open a second by mid-morning, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks flights online.

(Note: There will be free Q70 LaGuardia Link Bus Service to the airport Friday, January 5, and Saturday, January 6, in order to encourage customers to use mass transit when traveling to and from the airport. There will be a significant increase in passenger volumes as airlines resume flights.)

The Weather Channel reports that Logan experienced a rarely seen low visibility in a snow event of one-sixteenth of a mile, and also saw 13.4 inches of snow on Thursday. Tide levels in Boston Harbor neared an all-time record set in 1978, flooding out the Long Wharf and the neighborhood of Fort Point. An area ranging along the east- and north-facing shores of Massachusetts also experienced flooding. All told, it was one of the most intense Atlantic winter storms in decades, bringing blizzard conditions and whiteouts across and area ranging from Maine to Virginia.

The cold was so disruptive that even the airport in normally balmy Charleston, S.C., suspended flights Friday. The airport hoped to resume flights Friday afternoon or Saturday morning at the latest.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport received seven diverted flights during the day, including one international flight that didn’t typically land at the airport, and two more Thursday the evening.

“Our airport personnel worked quickly to arrange for a ground handling company to manage the arrival and to assist the airline’s passengers,” said airport spokesman Jonathan Dean. “ This action ensured that the passengers would not sit on the aircraft for an extended period of time while waiting on airline service.”

At least 13 flights went to Dulles, which is big enough and has the right equipment to deal with large planes, from JFK, Newark and Philadelphia. Among the diversions from JFK to Dulles were a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, Qatar, an Emirates flight from Dubai, U.A.E, and an Aeroflot flight from Moscow, according to Flightradar24.com, an online tracking service. A Singapore Airlines flight was diverted from JFK to Newburgh Stewart International Airport in New York state, according to Flightradar24.

Flight Waivers
A number of airlines are still offering flight waivers due to travel disruptions caused by the storm.

American Airlines will allow customers flying through affected airports in the northeast through January 6 to rebook through January 12 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference).

On Delta, which cancelled an additional 200 flights Thursday as a result of the storm, customers flying through January 6 can rebook through January 12, with the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date.

United Airlines is allowing customers set to fly through January 5 to rebook through January 8 in the originally ticketed cabin and between the same city pair.

Customers on Southwest Airlines can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs.

Finally, JetBlue is allowing customers flying January 5 to rebook through January 11, while Frontier Airlines said that customers scheduled to fly through January 6 can rebook through January 24.

(USA Today, Travel Agent Central)

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