Airlines canceled more than 1,300 flights early on Saturday, extending Christmas travel in the United States for a third straight day.
Major eastern hubs saw the highest number of flight cancellations, including Chicago O’Hare, New York’s LaGuardia and Detroit.
More than half of Chicago’s Midway airport departures were canceled Friday, as were two-thirds of Cleveland’s departures. The Buffalo airport was completely closed Friday night.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on CNN Friday that snow and ice are an obvious factor in many flight cancellations, but strong and cold winds are also a problem.
“It really has to do with the frigid temperatures you’re seeing,” Buttigieg said. “It limits the ability of the ground crew to operate. They make it look easy. You see they have a lot of winter weather gear, but these workers are only on the ground servicing these aircraft in case there is a safety issue and they need to go back inside.”
According to the FAA, planes at several airports need to be de-iced before taking off.
More than 9000 pre-Christmas flights have been canceled across the country amid early cancellations on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.