Eureka News Now —
Snow, rain, ice, wind and freezing temperatures are disrupting air travel plans across the country.
Airlines canceled more than 2,000 U.S. flights by 3 p.m. Thursday and proactively canceled more than 1,000 flights Friday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.
The delays were even more extensive: more than 5,300 on Thursday from 3 p.m
The impact is being felt most in Chicago and Denver, where around a quarter of arrivals and departures – hundreds of flights at each airport – were canceled on Thursday, data from FlightAware shows.
According to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration, delays at O’Hare Airport in Chicago due to snow and ice averaged 159 minutes – almost three hours.
Temperatures at the airport are approaching freezing as the storm and snow begin to settle in the Chicago area.
The FAA said departing planes at Dallas Love, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Minneapolis airports require deicing fluid sprays for safe travel.
In the busy New York area, the FAA warned that Newark flights could face delays due to visibility issues.
The region’s three major airports are warning all travelers that the incoming winter weather front could disrupt their travels.
“Flight activity at #LaGuardiaAirport may be disrupted later today and Friday due to heavy rain and high winds. Travelers, please confirm flight status with your airline before proceeding to the airport,” LaGuardia Airport wrote on Twitter. John F. Kennedy and Newark Airport also issued similar notices.
Many airlines have issued weather waivers, allowing travelers to change their itineraries during a short window of time without penalty.
For those whose flights are still scheduled, the Transportation Security Administration recommends that passengers arrive at the airport earlier than usual.
TSA federal security director for Reagan National Airport, John Busch, told reporters that all airports “expect to be busier this holiday season than they have been in the post-pandemic years.” We have already experienced some of our busiest days, yesterday and today, and we anticipate that Friday 30th, leading up to the New Year holidays, may also be a very busy day.”
But Busch added that the TSA is “very well prepared to handle additional volume and throughput for our security checkpoints.”
Maria Ihekwaba, who was traveling from Chicago to Clear Lake, Iowa, with her granddaughter Thursday morning, told Eureka News Now she was trying to leave as soon as possible.
“Especially when you’re traveling from Chicago, you never know what might happen in Chicago because it’s the Windy City,” Ihekwaba said.
San Diego traveler Kari Lucas told Eureka News Now that she was visiting her sister and brother-in-law, but canceled the trip because she didn’t want to be surprised by the upcoming weather.
“I was concerned because San Diego doesn’t get those blizzards,” she said. “That’s why I don’t like being trapped at the airport for a long time.”
“It seemed like the best choice that can be made right now,” she said.