US sees year's biggest day of flight cancellations as massive winter storm tears through country

There are more than 3,700 flight delays as of Thursday morning.

ByJordan Valinsky, CNN Business, CNNWire
Thursday, February 3, 2022
Winter storm packing snow, freezing rain moves across US
A winter storm is bringing a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to the central U.S.

NEW YORK -- US airlines have canceled thousands more flights Thursday as a powerful winter storm packing ice, rain, sleet and several inches of snow is stretching from the Midwest to the South and eventually parts of the Northeast.

On Thursday, there are nearly 4,000 cancellations within, into, or out of the United States, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. There are more than 3,700 flight delays as of Thursday morning.

The most impacted airports are in Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth, an American Airlines hub, has canceled 420 flights, or 44% of its schedule. Austin-Bergstrom has canceled 74% of its schedule, amounting to 208 flights. Dallas Love Field, a Southwest hub, has 85% of its schedule axed.

Across the Midwest, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland all have sizable disruptions to their schedules too.

Brian Kelly, "The Points Guy," goes over what you need to know if an airline cancels your flight.

Southwest Airlines has canceled 15% of its schedule, or about 500 flights. That's followed by American Airlines, with 16% of its Thursday schedule eliminated and United Airlines has nixed 200 flights or, 10% of its schedule. Feeder airlines for the major carriers are also clipping schedules, including Envoy Air (50% of its schedule is canceled), Republic Airways (28%) and SkyWest (12%).

Airlines issue travel waivers letting travelers rebook for free when severe weather impacts operations. CNN Travel has a guide about what to do if your flight is affected.

The system's reach is so expansive that more than 100 million people across at least 25 states were under winter weather alerts as of early Thursday from the Mexican border to New England. And some areas, including Texas, are expected to feel those impacts through Saturday afternoon.

Heavy snow began falling Tuesday and more than 20 inches had piled up in the Colorado Springs area, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Illinois were inundated with more than a foot of snow, while Indiana had tallied more than 11 inches. That caused more than 2,300 flight cancellations across the US.

It's been a miserable few weeks to be an airline traveler, especially after last weekend's storm that complicated travel. Winter weather and Omicron surges left 20,000 US flights canceled over the busy holiday travel season. As travel picked up, staffing cuts also left airlines with fewer employees than they had before the pandemic.

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