Top 1,800 flights canceled nationwide Thursday, disrupting holiday travel


Snow, rain, ice, wind and frigid temperatures are disrupting air travel plans across the country.

As of 1 p.m. ET Thursday, airlines canceled more than 1,800 U.S. flights and voluntarily canceled more than 900 flights on Friday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.

Wider range of delays: more than 3,700 as of 1 p.m. Thursday

Chicago and Denver were hardest hit, canceling about a quarter of inbound and outbound flights on Thursday — hundreds of flights at each airport, according to FlightAware data.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, an average delay of 159 minutes — nearly three hours — was caused by ice and snow, according to an FAA notice.

Temperatures at the airport were near freezing as storms and snow began to roll over the greater Chicago area.

The FAA said planes departing from Dallas-Fort Worth, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Minneapolis airports will need to be sprayed with deicing fluid to ensure safe flight.

In the busy New York area, the FAA warned that Newark flights could be delayed due to visibility issues.

All three airports in the region are warning travelers that an upcoming winter weather front could disrupt their travel.

“Flight activity at #LaGuardiaAirport may be affected by heavy rain and strong winds later today and Friday. Travelers, please check flight status with your airline before heading to the airport,” LaGuardia tweeted wrote. Similar notices were posted at John F. Kennedy and Newark airports.

Many airlines have issued weather waivers, allowing travelers to change itineraries at short notice without penalty.

For those whose flights remain on schedule, the TSA is advising passengers to arrive at the airport earlier than usual.

John Bush, TSA federal security director at Reagan National Airport, told reporters that all airports “expect this holiday season to be busier than we have been in years coming out of the pandemic. We’ve had some of our busiest days, yesterday and today, we Expect Friday the 30th before the New Year holidays to be a very busy day as well.”

But Busch added that TSA is “fully prepared to handle the additional traffic and throughput at our security checkpoints.”

Maria Ihekwaba, who traveled from Chicago to Clear Lake, Iowa, with her granddaughter Thursday morning, told CNN she was trying to get out as soon as possible.

“Especially when you’re traveling from Chicago, you never know what’s going to happen in Chicago because it’s the Windy City,” Ihekwaba said.

Cary Lucas, a traveler from San Diego, told CNN she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law but cut the trip short because she didn’t want to be caught up in the upcoming weather.

“I’m concerned that because of San Diego, we won’t have these snowstorms,” ​​she said. “So I don’t like it being stuck in the airport for a long time.”

“It seems like the best choice to make right now,” she said.

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