Air travelers found little relief Monday as flight cancellations that began Christmas Eve stretched into the new year, with a new batch of snowstorms causing widespread delays in the nation’s capital and at New York-area airports, further straining an already stressed aviation system.
The day began with over 2,000 cancellations of flights within, to, and from the United States, according to data tracking service FlightAware. But Monday followed a familiar pattern with the number of cancellations growing as the day wore on. Ultimately, more than 3,000 flights were canceled — the most since the holiday travel disruptions began — while topping the 2,700 flights that didn’t operate on Sunday.
Since Dec. 24, when the first signs of trouble driven by the omicron variant of the coronavirus began to emerge, more than 15,000 U.S. flights have been canceled. Wintry weather at busy hubs this week fueled more disruptions as an 11-day meltdown showed no signs of waning at the nation’s airports.
Monday’s increase in cancellations was driven, in part, by storms in the Northeast at a time when other major hubs, including Chicago and Atlanta, were recovering from weather this past weekend.
The Washington region’s three major airports were hit hard Monday by the area’s first major snowstorm of the season. As conditions at Reagan National and Baltimore Washington International Marshall deteriorated, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an hours-long ground stop because of snow and ice, halting operations and preventing the departure of flights scheduled to land at the airports. By early afternoon, inbound traffic at both airports was allowed to resume.
As the snow stopped falling, 85 percent of National’s scheduled departures were canceled Monday, according to FlightAware. That number stood at 44 percent at BWI, the region’s busiest airport. Washington Dulles International fared slightly better, but even so, more than a quarter of scheduled departures were canceled.
The snow is here! Some flights have been proactively cancelled today so it’s important to check directly with your airline on any flight changes prior to coming to the airport. pic.twitter.com/TXWUufyYFQ
Southwest Airlines canceled the most flights Monday among U.S. carriers. The airline’s efforts to recover from weekend storms in the Midwest that affected its Chicago operations were further hampered by snowy weather at BWI, another of its hubs. According to FlightAware, the carrier canceled more than 600 flights, or 16 percent, of those scheduled Monday, up from 11 percent a day earlier.