Buffalo Niagara Airport crews de-ice a Delta plane on  Jan. 6, 2014. (Harry Scull Jr./The Buffalo News via AP)

This post has been updated and corrected.

It might have been a great month for snow lovers, but January was far from a good month for air travelers and the airlines that serve them.

According to data released this week by masFlight, a cloud-based data and software company specializing in airline operations, weather disruptions in January — including the infamous Polar Vortex — resulted in the cancellation of 49,000 flights and delays of an additional 300,000 flights. Some 30 million passengers were forced to deal with cancelled or delayed flights.

JetBlue bore the brunt of January’s cancellations —  67 percent of its flights were cancelled.

While JetBlue was one of the airlines most affected by the storms — it was regional airlines that faced the most flight issues with about 67 percent of flights cancelled.

masFlight, which is based in Bethesda, estimates that the cancellations and delays cost passengers more than $2.5 billion (lost productivity, meals, hotel bookings, etc.) and airlines $75 million to $150 million. In addition to the lost productivity and additional expenses, such as hotel rooms and meals, cancelled flights added approximately 18 hours to passenger travel times owing to high industry load factors and the consequent difficulty in re-booking, the company’s analysis found.

masFlight analyzed the cancellations and delays for January 2014  and found that they exceeded all January cancellations back to January 2009 and were worse than the cancellations and delays associated with Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast last October.  January 2013, also was worse than February 2010 (Snowmageddon!), when 32,500 cancellations were the result of two back-to-back storms during the first 10 days of the month and then a smaller storm at the end of the month.

The company said the Polar Vortex and other winter storms that hit portions of the U.S. at the beginning of January 2014 were an aberration in terms of cancellations and delays and were compounded by winter storms that continued throughout the month, the company’s analysis found.

Officials at the company, however, noted that two major regulatory changes have changed airline operations since 2009 and may have resulted in an increase in flight cancellation rates.

The Department of Transportation’s tarmac delay rule, which began in 2010 for domestic flights and a year later for international flights, means that airlines can be fined as much as $27,500 for each instance in which passengers are held on board a flight on the ground without the opportunity to deplane for three hours (domestic flights) or four hours (international flights). As a result, masFlight notes that airlines have begun to return flights to the gate “well before the three-hour mark, driving many more gate returns than originally anticipated and subsequent cancellations to open gates for returning flights.”

The second major regulatory change, which went into effect at the beginning of this year, imposed new limited on the amount of time U.S. pilots are available to fly.  According to masFlight, the rule has “made it harder for airlines to recover from weather events because time on the ground during flight delays counted against new limits – and caused pilots to ‘time out’ when flights were badly delayed. If crews time out away from bases, pilots are then out of position for future flights, creating significant follow-on disruption to the system.”

According to masFlight’s analysis, it will take airlines time to shift personnel and operations to meet the new pilot flight time rules.

This post has been updated and corrected.