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U.S. flight cancellations eased on Saturday, but federal officials warned that disruptions could continue as severe winter storms disrupted air travel across the country ahead of Christmas.
US-based airlines have canceled more than 10,000 flights since Wednesday, according to flight tracker FlightAware.
Bad weather and flight disruptions have upended the holiday travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people during what airlines expect to be one of their busiest times since pre-pandemic.
Airlines and travelers struggled to find alternative flights before the holidays. Because the flights were full and the schedule plummeted over the weekend. The schedule peaked at 47,554 flights for him on Thursday, dwindling to 30,875 flights on Saturday and just 27,997 flights on Christmas Day, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
This could force airlines to offer cash refunds to travelers who decide to cancel their trip altogether due to delays.
fedex When UPS warned that holiday packages may arrive late due to storms.
Airlines scrubbed about 5,600 flights on Friday alone, about a quarter of their schedules, as storms ravaged cities from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast, bringing life-threatening cold to many regions. Federal forecasters warned of dangerous road conditions due to ice and poor visibility.
“Wind and snowstorms could cause delays in Chicago, and winds could cause delays in and around Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Philadelphia,” the FAA said Saturday morning. “Airports serving ski resorts in Seattle, San Francisco, and Colorado may experience delays from low clouds and visibility.”
More than 1,700 Saturday flights have been canceled.
The FAA added that Florida also has many seasonal flights, which could cause delays.
A jet taxi drives through the snow at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, December 22, 2022.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Extreme cold and high winds have also delayed operations at dozens of airports. According to FlightAware data, 58% of U.S. flights arrive late on Friday, and on average he arrives nearly 90 minutes.
The turmoil stems from weather that has hit all major US airlines.
Southwest AirlinesAirlines with large operations in Chicago and Denver canceled more than 1,300 flights, about a third of their schedules, and delayed 2,000 flights, half of their schedules.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the airline pilots’ union, said Thursday that 52% of pilots were rerouted.
James Garofalo of Colorado Springs checks his cell phone after his flight was canceled at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022.
Jang Hyun | Denver Post | Getty Images
based in Seattle Alaska Airlines It canceled more than 500 flights, or 65% of its schedule for Friday, saying planes and airport ramps were covered in thick sheets of ice, slowing operations in the Pacific Northwest.
“While it is difficult, especially at this time of year, with continued icy weather and limited availability, we strongly encourage guests to re-evaluate their travel needs.” The flights over the next few days are very full, so it may take a few days to accommodate guests who need new flights.”