WASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Airlines canceled more than 3,800 U.S. flights on Thursday and Friday and U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak canceled some train services, disrupting holiday travel for thousands, as a powerful winter storm battered the United States. United.
The extreme weather coincided with the start of a holiday travel season that could be one of the busiest ever.
More than 2,180 U.S. flights were canceled Thursday and another 1,600 flights for Friday were canceled, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that the winter storm is bringing blizzard conditions to the Midwest with major travel disruptions expected in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Delta Air Lines ( DAL.N ), which had canceled 130 flights on Thursday out of 4,400 and 84 on Friday per FlightAware, warned “additional cancellations will be necessary on Friday as the storm continues to impact operations in Detroit and the Northeast.” .
So far, 24% of flights departing Chicago O’Hare International Airport and 37% of flights at Chicago Midway were canceled Thursday, while 26% of flights departing Denver were canceled.
Amtrak said it was canceling several dozen scheduled train trips in the Midwest through Christmas due to weather conditions, including trains in Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and trains between New York and Chicago.
In the seven days ending Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened nearly 16.2 million passengers, down slightly from the 16.5 million screened in the same period in 2019.
Last year’s holiday period was marred by an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff that forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights.
U.S. airlines, including Delta, United Airlines ( UAL.O ) and American Airlines ( AAL.O ), said earlier this week they are waiving change fees and fare differences for passengers in a number of affected areas .
American Airlines said Wednesday it was continuing to monitor the winter storm, which is expected to affect Midwest, Northeast and Eastern airports this week, and had canceled 130 flights as of 4 p.m. ET (1500 GMT).
Southwest Airlines ( LUV.N ) had canceled 833 flights.
Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Deepa Babington and Alistair Bell
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