David Ryder | Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Airlines canceled hundreds of flights this week as winter storms, bitter cold and high winds disrupted U.S. travel ahead of the Christmas weekend.
According to tracking site FlightAware, the airline scrubbed more than 2,800 flights from Wednesday to Friday. That period includes when the airline expects its busiest hours before Sunday, which is Christmas.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport and Chicago Midway had the highest number of canceled flights on Thursday. Airlines have warned that snow, icy high winds and low temperatures could affect travel from Seattle to Boston to North Carolina.
American, southwest, United, delta, spirit, jet blue, Alaska and other airlines have issued weather waivers to dozens of destinations nationwide, allowing travelers to change departures without paying change fees or fare differences.
The weather could hurt what airlines expected to be a busy travel day to cap off a volatile year. It is said that passengers will visit. Carriers predict January 2nd to be their busiest on record since the pandemic began.
Travelers arrive for flights at United Airlines Terminal 1 ahead of the Christmas holidays at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on December 22, 2022.
Kamil Krzaczynski | AFP | Getty Images
Spring and summer disruptions due to bad weather and labor shortages have sparked outcry from customers and politicians, prompting airlines to adjust their schedules.
From the end of last year to the beginning of 2023, hundreds of flights were canceled due to crew absences due to COVID-19.
American Airlines is offering surcharges for flight attendants working during peak holidays to beef up its staff.
“We are all doing our best to ensure that our customers are well cared for during the holiday travel season, including during inclement weather,” American said in a statement. “The key to our preparation was sizing the airline to the resources we had available and the operational situation we were facing, and then reacting quickly to pick up customers when the weather cleared. It was something we could do.”