Chicago snowstorm sees more than 1,000 flights canceled as New Years travel chaos worsens
A snowstorm in CHICAGO has caused more than 1,000 flight cancellations as the New Year’s travel chaos deepens.
The winter storm is the latest blow to the travel industry, as around 900 flights were canceled across the United States on Thursday due to the new variant of Covid causing staff shortages.
More than 1,000 flights were canceled in Chicago on Saturday as a New Year’s snowstorm hit the area.
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, 844 flights were canceled, while at Midway Airport, another 273 were canceled.
As of late Saturday afternoon on the east coast, more than 2,600 US flights and nearly 4,600 worldwide had been canceled, according to the FlightAware tracking service.
This is the highest U.S. death toll to date since just before Christmas, when airlines began blaming staff shortages on rising COVID-19 infections among crews.
More than 12,000 US flights have been canceled since December 24.
JetBlue cut 1,280 additional flights between December 30 and January 13 as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc.
Southwest Airlines has suspended all operations at Midway and O’Hare airports due to forecasts.
A spokeswoman for the airline said Southwest has known from years of operating at Midway that high winds and blowing snow make it difficult to get planes back to flight quickly.
City officials have warned travelers of the impact of the winter storm on vacation weekend travel plans.
CHICAGO SNOW STORM
Chicago forecasters predict that the heaviest snowfall periods will fall between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. across the region.
A winter storm warning is in effect for almost every suburb in the Chicago area.
In Cook County, the warning began at noon on Saturday and will continue until 6 a.m. on Sunday.
The alert said about five to nine inches of snow is expected to fall in the area with wind gusts of 40 mph in the afternoon and evening.
Travel was expected to be problematic during the storm, with blowing snow drastically reducing visibility in open areas.
A winter storm with heavy snowfall is expected to head northeast as a new storm hits the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Weather Service.
As of noon, more than 850 flights were deleted as of noon as of Wednesday, according to tracking site FlightAware.
Travelers have been struck by chaos throughout the holiday season as there were approximately 1,300 cancellations on Tuesday and another 1,500 on Monday.
Carriers such as JetBlue, United Airlines, Delta and American Airlines have cut more than 4,000 flights since Christmas Eve.
In a note obtained by CNBC, three JetBlue bosses said, “The past week has been one of our most difficult times of operation during the pandemic.
“The exponential growth of Omicron cases over just a few days is at a level that no one could reasonably prepare for.”
SkyWest was forced to cut 195 flights due to extreme weather conditions that hit its hubs and reported staffing issues.
The Pacific Northwest was hit by cold and heavy snow over the weekend.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport had the highest percentage of departing and arriving flights on Wednesday, according to FlightAware.
The south of the country has also seen travel chaos, as 164 flights were delayed at the Miami airport on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, 117 flights were delayed, according to data released Tuesday afternoon.
Photos from Ronald Reagan Airport in Arlington, Va., Show staff trying to sort dozens of suitcases and bags in the departure terminal.
Sudden delays and cancellations forced travelers to scramble home.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for the US Sun team?