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Airlines cancel hundreds of flights ahead of winter storm

JetBlue Airways Corp.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Airlines have canceled hundreds of flights ahead of a winter storm that forecasters expect will bring high winds and potential for more than a foot of snow across the Northeast.

A winter storm warning was in effect Friday from Maryland to Maine, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 2,900 U.S. flights were canceled for Saturday after more than 1,200 on Friday, according to flight-tracker FlightAware. New York-based JetBlue Airways, which also has a major operation out of Boston, cut half of its Saturday schedule, or 418 flights.

At Boston Logan International Airport, nearly 600 Saturday flights were canceled, more than 90% of the schedule. About 90%, or more than 500 flights, were canceled at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and 660 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, more than half of those scheduled. More than three-quarters Saturday’s schedule to and from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey was canceled, or 540 flights.

Regional carrier Republic Airways, which flies for American, United and Delta, canceled 409 flights, 60% of Saturday’s schedule. American canceled 442 mainline flights Saturday, or 17%, while United scrubbed 375, also 21%. Delta cut 270 flights or 11% of the schedule.

Airlines in recent years have canceled flights sometimes days ahead of big storms to avoid customers and crews being stranded.

Carriers said they would waive fare differences for customers affected by the storm. Most airlines had already removed change fees for standard economy tickets in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic repeatedly derailed travelers’ plans.

Airlines cut more than 20,000 U.S. flights between Christmas Eve and the first week of the year, when far more people were traveling, due to a combination of bad weather and a surge in Covid infections among crews.

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