Posted on February 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM
January was one of the roughest months in memory for air travelers. February hasn't gotten off to a much better start.
As was the case for much of January – a month in which flight cancellations were counted in the tens of thousands – a winter storm was to blame for the latest round of flight disruptions.
Monday's storm was gaining strength Monday over the mid-Atlantic states, home to some of the nation's busiest -- and most delay-prone -- airports. Nearly every big airline is waiving change fees and relaxing rebooking rules for fliers ticketed to fly through the region.
The bulk of Monday's cancellations have come at the Philadelphia, Newark Liberty and New York LaGuardia airports.
FlightAware counted more than 400 combined arrival and departure cancellations at LaGuardia and Newark and nearly as many at Philadelphia as 2:30 p.m. ET.
At three other busy airports in the region -- New York JFK, Washington Dulles and Washington Reagan National -- flight cancellations were less severe, but were much higher than would be expected on a typical day.
Flight delays were widespread across the region, especially at Philadelphia and the three New York City-area airports. The Federal Aviation Administration's flight-delay map
showed back-ups at those airports were averaging anywhere from 1 to 4 hours as of 12:20 p.m. ET.
Unfortunately for fliers, the number canceled flights has ticket up sharply since this morning and could persist into the evening. Forecasts called for heavy snow developing across the mid-Atlantic, bringing a half-foot or more of snow to the New York and Philadelphia metro areas.
All three of the USA's biggest carriers operate a major hub at one of the New York or Philadelphia airports, meaning problems there could ripple out and affect flights elsewhere. A flight from Houston to Los Angeles, for example, could become delayed or canceled if the aircraft of crew scheduled to operate it gets bogged down in the stormy New York area.
Other airports that saw a higher-than-usual number of cancellations as of mid-afternoon included Boston; Cleveland; Buffalo; Raleigh/Durham; Columbus, Ohio; Syarcuse; Rochesterm N.Y.; Norfolk, Va; Westchester County, N.Y.
The weather also will complicate the exodus of fans who had traveled to New York and New Jersey for the Super Bowl, which was played in relatively mild weather on Sunday -- just hours before the weather started to go downhill in the region.
And Sunday wasn't without its own problems. More than 950 flights were canceled nationwide
, with Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) accounting for at least a third of those. Those cancellations came as icy precipitation was forecast for parts of North Texas.
American, which operates its busiest hub at DFW, was affected the most by Sunday's problems. AA and its American Eagle regional affiliate canceled more than 630 flights Sunday.