Massive winter storm sees thousands of US flights cancelled

by Jerome Greer Chandler
4113
January 05, 2018
grayson winter storm airline cancellations
Winter Storm Grayson, a rare "bomb cyclone", from space. Photo: NOAA

Just when airlines thought they’d left the massive weather delays and cancellations of late last summer and fall, along comes Winter Storm Grayson—ravaging the US East Coast and seriously disrupting air travel along the way.

FlightAware.com reported that as of Thursday afternoon January 4 (US East Coast Time) airlines along Grayson’s path have been forced to cancel 4,945 flights. Delays alone into and out of the US amounted to 2,049.

Updated information from The New York Times says flights have been stopped altogether at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports due to blowing snow.

Also hit hard is  Newark Liberty International, with 78 per cent of its originating flights cancelled.  EWR is a major hub and international gateway for United Airlines.

Boston Logan International (BOS), a JetBlue bastion, cancelled 74 per cent  of its flights due to the storm.

Prior to being shut down, New York LaGuardia (LGA) a largely domestic O&D (origin and destination) airport saw 76 per cent of its flights axed.

John F. Kennedy International (JFK), New York’s prime international launch pad had fared better. Still, fully half of its flights—50 per cent –had to be cancelled before it was also shut down.

While it’s the East Coast that’s bearing the brunt of Grayson, the vaunted “ripple effect” is affecting air travel across the US.

Southwest’s Baltimore/Washington hub saw 16 per cent — almost a fifth — of its originating flights cancelled. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is dealing with 18 per cent of its originating flights called off.

A release by JetBlue underscored the severity of the weather.

“New England cities can expect snowfall of 12+ inches,” it said “BOS will experience especially heavy snowfall, including ‘thunder snow.’ Winds are expected to be extremely strong. Blowing snow and winds will be a large concern as airports work to clear runways.

The good news is that  virtually all the airlines serving say you can rework your flight without having to incur change/cancellation fees.

The bad new is that passenger throughout the United Sates are having to scrap business meetings and extended holiday vacations.

Just how much money the airlines are losing from all of the atmospheric tumult remains to be seen.