NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Airlines canceled thousands of flights into and out of East Coast airports as a major snowstorm packing up to 2 or more feet of snow strikes on the region.
As of 5 p.m., more than 3,000 Monday flights within the U.S. had already been scrubbed, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. Most were to or from a band running from Washington through New York to Boston.
And more than 4,700 flights had been delayed.
For Tuesday, nearly 3,900 flights have already been canceled, according to FlightAware. It appears there will be limited, if any, flight activity at LaGuardia, Kennedy or Newark Liberty airports Tuesday, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
Crews were working feverishly to de-ice planes Monday before takeoff and travelers were rushing to airports to try to beat the brunt of the storm.
William Genao drove to LaGuardia from Bloomfield, New Jersey, in hopes of guaranteeing a flight to Las Vegas after his original flight was canceled.
“I changed the flight like three times because of the storm coming up,” he said. “I was actually supposed to leave tomorrow afternoon, but I switched it to today, and then I switched it again. So finally, we’re going to make it out of here.”
“Yesterday, we realized what’s happening. We called, and American (Airlines) was very, very accommodating,” one man said.
Many travelers said the novelty of a possible record-breaking blizzard quickly wears away.
“Actually, I was very excited because I haven’t seen snow in so long that I really wanted to stay,” one woman told Sanchez. “But I’m happy that we hopefully get out.”
If you are traveling, you should check with your carrier for your flight’s status.
More than half of all flights out of LaGuardia Airport were called off Monday, and two-thirds of flights heading into the airport were scratched.
JetBlue, whose flights are largely in the Northeast, canceled about a third of its entire schedule.
United Airlines canceled all flights in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. United spokeswoman Mary Ryan said the airline would limit operations at Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports Monday night and cancel all Tuesday flights at those airports.
American Airlines will run a “very limited” schedule in the Northeast on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Andrea Huguely. She said American planned to suspend operations late Monday afternoon at LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark, Boston and Philadelphia.
Most major airlines are allowing customers whose flights are canceled in the next few days to book new flights without paying a penalty. Customers ticketed on flights to dozens of Eastern airports are generally eligible for the allowance, though specific terms vary by airline.
The Port Authority said workers are on 12-hour shifts to ensure things run smoothly during the storm. The agency will supply cots and other essential items to travelers stranded at area airports.
Problems in the Northeast are rippling outward across the country. In West Palm Beach, Florida, where temperatures are expected to be in the 70s Monday, about 30 percent of all flights have been canceled. Fort Lauderdale and Orlando are also reporting major cancellations.
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