Hundreds of Flights Canceled As Winter Storm Hits the U.S.

Delta, Southwest, and more have issued flight waivers mainly for travel in the Midwest.

 A crew works to de-ice a plane at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after a preblizzard struck
A previous photo of a crew de-icing a plane at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Photo:

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

A major winter storm is slamming the country from coast to coast, dumping heavy snow on the Midwest and threatening New England all while disrupting travel.

The weather system, which started with winter storm warnings across the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Rockies on Monday, then moved into the Midwest, hitting cities like Minneapolis with about 7 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service Twin Cities. While less than originally forecasted, the storm still caused significant delays and cancellations for flights across the country. 

"The storm might be a little underperforming, but the impact between a foot and 18 inches is likely the same," NWS meteorologist Paige Marten told the Star Tribune.

As of Thursday morning, more than 760 flights had been canceled within, into, or out of the United States with more than 970 delayed, according to FlightAware. That followed more than 1,700 cancellations on Wednesday and more than 6,900 delays. The Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport alone had to cancel a total of 428 flights going in and out of its terminals.

Several airlines issued travel waivers for the storm, including Delta Air Lines, which issued one for the upper Midwest for travel through Feb. 24. Delta, which operates a major hub in Minneapolis, took the brunt of the impact compared to other major U.S. airlines, canceling more than 300 flights on Wednesday and delaying more than 850, according to FlightAware.

Delta was followed by Southwest, which canceled 289 flights on Wednesday and delayed more than 990 just months after the airline’s infamous Christmas week meltdown saw thousands of flights canceled and passengers stranded.

Similarly, United Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, and Alaska Airlines all issued travel waivers for the Midwest or Northeast.

After the storm moved past the Midwest, it was expected to head east, dropping at least six inches of snow from upstate New York to Vermont, New Hampshire, and southern Maine, according to The Weather Channel.

Travelers concerned about flight delays can learn how likely they are to get off the ground on time by checking things like their plane’s inbound status. And while weather delays are somewhat unavoidable, passengers wishing to ensure a smoother travel day should look for nonstop and early morning flights.

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