Thousands of flights canceled, delayed by brutal cold


Airport crews work to de-ice planes at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Jan. 5. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Frigid cold across the United States continued to wreak havoc on air travel, leading to thousands of flights being delayed or canceled Tuesday.

As of noon Tuesday, more than 2,200 flights had been canceled and 1,900 flights delayed, according to FlightAware. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was particularly hard-hit, with more than 750 cancellations at the key hub, while nearby Midway International Airport had 180 flights canceled.

In Washington, more than 200 flights through the region’s three major airports — Reagan National, Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International — were grounded. The problems also were felt in New York, Cleveland and Boston, with hundreds of flights through those cities nixed.

The delays are merely the latest in a string of problems in recent days. Travelers endured thousands of canceled flights on Monday as temperatures plunged, which followed thousands of cancellations last week stemming from the winter storm that pounded the Midwest and Northeast.

The cold temperatures make it difficult for airlines to refuel planes or have ground crews outside long enough to do other work. “We are unable to pump fuel and or de-ice,” Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American Airlines Group, told Reuters. On Monday, JetBlue announced that it was going to reduce operations at New York’s three airports (LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International and Newark International) and Boston’s Logan International Airport from 1 p.m. that day through 10 a.m. Tuesday. The airline said in a statement that it hopes to be back to normal operations by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Airlines are waiving fees for travelers rebooking flights, continuing what they have done since the headaches began last week.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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