NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. airlines canceled hundreds of flights and could spend days returning to normal during the busy holiday travel season after a blizzard pummeled the northeast of the country, dumping 20 inches of snow on New York City.
Thousands of travelers were stuck waiting hours for flights at East Coast airports with severely limited access to taxis, trains, food and information.
* See here for airport delays and closures.
* The opening times for New York City area airports John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport were listed as 6 p.m. EST (2300 GMT). LaGuardia Airport was due to open at 4 p.m. (2100 GMT)
* Canceled about 700 flights systemwide on Monday, mainly in the Northeast, due to heavy snow especially in New York and in Boston. On Sunday, about 1,200 mainline and Delta Connection flights were canceled. On a typical day, it runs about 5,000 flights.
* “As the weather clears Monday we are aiming to resume normal operations late Monday and into Tuesday across the East Coast,” Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said.
* Travelers to, from or through major East Coast airports can change flights without fees at delta.com
* Some 450 flights out of a total of 6,200 flights on Sunday and Monday were canceled. Southwest expects most operations running by midday on Monday in the Northeast “with the exception of Islip and LaGuardia where there are a little more challenging conditions,” spokesman Brad Hawkins said.
* In addition to blowing snow, there is also limited to no train service running to serve these New York area airports, specifically for Long Island’s MacArthur airport in Islip. “It doesn’t appear that we’ll operate today in Islip,” Hawkins said.
* Travelers were advised to use southwest.com to find empty seats and flight updates.
* Expected 236 cancellations on Monday, with New York City area airports still closed. On Sunday, 269 flights were canceled due to severe weather.
* American Eagle will have an estimated 175 weather-related cancellations today after 158 cancellations on Sunday.
* American and American Eagle have about 3,400 flights on a typical day.
* “Calls are flooding into reservation centers, and we’re bringing extra people in to staff up,” spokesman Ed Martelle said. One of the bigger challenges is “getting airport employees and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) employees to airports to process passengers. You can shovel runways pretty fast, but how fast can you clear the highways?”
* United reported 175 cancellations on Monday and extended its travel waiver through Tuesday so people can change flights without extra fees. It averages 3,300 flights a day.
* Continental canceled almost 900 flights on Monday and was hoping to resume flights the same day with a limited schedule, spokeswoman Christen David said.
* Continental averages about 2,400 worldwide daily flights.
* “We are trying to reinstitute flights tomorrow (Tuesday),” David said. “High volume markets with the most customers will be a priority.”
* Canceled more than 300 flights on Monday and some 265 on Sunday. The company, which has about 650 flights daily, said it would waive fees for customers who had to chance flights in and out of 13 affected airports on the East Coast between Saturday and Tuesday. Customers will be allowed to rebook through January 14.
Reporting by Lynn Adler; editing by Daniel Trotta, Derek Caney and Tim Dobbyn