(CNN) – Severe storms around Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday caused 100 American Airlines flight diversions and led to hundreds of cancellations that stretched into Thursday’s schedule.
More than 300 American Airlines flights had been canceled by midday Thursday, or 9% of its schedule, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. A total of about 650 flights in the US had been canceled by noon ET.
On Wednesday, American canceled nearly 370 flights. A total of more than 1,200 flights in the US were canceled on Wednesday, FlightAware data shows.
DFW Airport is American Airlines’ largest hub.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines recorded about 250 cancellations Wednesday, according to FlightAware. Southwest had canceled about 100 Thursday flights as of noon ET.
Caught by surprise by the second line of storms
According to American’s chief operating officer, David Seymour, the airline prepared for storms in the forecast south of the airport Wednesday afternoon. But another wave came by surprise.
“Those storms then regenerated and created an entirely new and unforeseen line of storms north of the airport. This sudden storm activity disrupted all arrivals at DFW for a three-hour period,” Seymour said in a memo to staff at shared with CNN Travel. .
One hundred AA flights were diverted and the airline proactively canceled all remaining flights in and out of DFW on Wednesday.
“DFW Airport had gone 67 days without measurable rain, the second-longest streak on record — weather like this can wreak havoc on our operations. This was the worst storm we’ve seen at DFW this summer and to to make matters worse, there was no indication that it was on its way,” said Seymour.
He thanked American Airlines staff for their efforts in recovering from the weather disruption and noted that the cancellations are “highly impactful to our customers.”
“Canceling flights is a last resort,” Seymour said in the memo to staff. “But doing this in advance – even with a small window – gives customers the best chance to adjust their plans and avoid last-minute problems at the airport.”
DFW Airport said Thursday that it has resumed normal operations.
A summer of flying headaches
Harsh summer weather has compounded other operational challenges, including staffing airlines and airports.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been working to address air travel disruptions as pandemic-ravaged demand rebounds.
Last weekend was hit with delays and cancellations, with Friday the worst day for cancellations since mid-June.
The proposed rule would more clearly define when flights are significantly changed or canceled to provide a clearer path for refunds, in addition to creating greater consumer protections related to the pandemic.
Top image: American Airlines planes stand at passenger gates at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in October 2020. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)