You might be grounded. The travel troubles from Monday’s snowstorm in the Midwest, combined with forecasts calling for more snow and icy conditions in the South and Northeast, have already forced airlines to cancel more than 1,000 Tuesday flights.
Atlanta is Tuesday’s biggest trouble spot, with nearly 300 flights to and from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport canceled as of 9:30 a.m EST Monday.
Delta Air Lines, which is based in Atlanta and has its biggest hub at the world’s busiest airport, said late Monday it planned to proactively cancel approximately 170 flights from Atlanta due to snow and icy conditions in this year’s Super Bowl host city.
The airline said its meteorologists expect snowfall to begin around 10 a.m. EST and continue into the afternoon. Even though the forecast only calls for half an inch of snow, Delta said it is canceling the flights to mitigate delays and “keep the operation moving.”
The irony is that by noon on Tuesday the winter snowstorm was a nonevent, and operations at Hartsfield were proceeding as normal.
Travelers headed to or from Chicago’s Midway International Airport, a major base for Southwest Airlines, also face significant flight cancellations.
The tally as of 9:30 a.m. EST Monday, according to FlightAware: Nearly 300 cancellations, most of them Southwest flights.
The situation isn’t as bad at larger Chicago O’Hare international Airport, a major hub for United and American airlines. Nearly 160 flights to and from O’Hare have been canceled, compared with a final tally of nearly 1,200 canceled flights on Monday as Chicago dug out from an overnight snowstorm.
Nationally, Southwest Airlines has canceled the most Tuesday flights. The airline has canceled 538 flights, or 14 percent of its scheduled flights, according to FlightAware.
Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said the airline proactively canceled Tuesday flights due to the winter storm.
The airline, like all carriers, recommends travelers check their flight status before heading to the airport.
Other airports with significant flight cancellations Tuesday include Toronto Pearson and Montreal-Trudeau.
Airlines have issued waivers for travelers due to fly this week, allowing ticket changes without the usual hefty penalties. Fine print varies by carrier.