Friday flight cancellations top 5,300, disrupting holiday travel

Dec 23, 2022, 2:52 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm

Winter weather continues to disrupt holiday travel across the United States on December 23, leaving...

Winter weather continues to disrupt holiday travel across the United States on December 23, leaving travelers facing delays and cancellations during one of the busiest times of the year. Travelers wait in line at O'Hare International Airport on Dec. 22. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images via CNN)

(Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — Winter weather continues to disrupt holiday travel across the United States on Friday, leaving travelers facing delays and cancellations during one of the busiest times of the year.

More than 5,300 Friday flights have already been canceled as of 7:40 p.m. ET, after nearly 2,700 cancellations on Thursday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

Cancellations were highest Friday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, New York’s LaGuardia, Chicago O’Hare, Denver International and Detroit Metro Airport, according to FlightAware data. In Canada, Toronto topped flight cancellations.

In addition to the cancellations, there had been more than 9,100 delays as of 7:40 p.m. ET among the flights still going out.

For Saturday, more than 570 flights have already been canceled. But for Christmas Day, just 10 flights have been canceled so far.

Slammed by wind-whipped snow, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York had to shut down flights entirely.

“The Buffalo Airport Airfield has closed due to hazardous weather conditions,” and all flights scheduled for the evening have been cancelled, according to a tweet from the airport’s official Twitter account.

At airports in Cleveland and Grand Rapids, Michigan, more than 70% of the flights have been canceled.

Ground stops

The Federal Aviation Administration posted ground stops Friday morning for flights bound for Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, American Airlines’ second largest hub, and Reagan National Airport near Washington, DC, because of deicing.

In the Pacific Northwest, FAA notices showed flights bound to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Portland International Airport were also under ground stops Friday morning because of snow and ice.

The FAA says the major air pressure changes associated with this storm will trigger high winds at airports from Boston down to Atlanta.

Airports in Chicago and Denver saw the bulk of cancellations and delays on Thursday. Chicago O’Hare International Airport was logging average delays Thursday of almost three hours due to snow and ice.

Storm has bad timing

An arctic blast and a rapidly intensifying winter storm have come at an unfortunate time for travelers trying to join family and friends for the holidays.

Airlines have issued winter weather waivers allowing passengers to rebook at no cost within a limited time period. Find links to the airline waivers and more air travel strategies here.

The growing cancellations make it harder for passengers racing against the clock and weather to rebook and arrive in time for Christmas. Flights this year were already more crowded than they’ve been previously — even before the storm disrupted travel schedules.

“We hear about how travel volume is still down, 5 or 10 percent, but what many folks might not have realized is that the number of flights in the sky is actually down more like 15 or 20 percent,” Scott Keyes of Scott’s Cheap Flights told CNN.

“The planes that are actually flying are more full today than they were pre-pandemic. That’s why there’s not as many empty seats to switch onto if you do find your flight gets canceled or delayed,” Keyes said.

Train and bus service hit, too

Amtrak has also been forced to delay or cancel passenger service for some lines in the Midwest and Northeast.

Click here for details about rail service disruptions.

In its notice, Amtrak said “customers with reservations on trains that are being modified will typically be accommodated on trains with similar departure times or another day.

“Amtrak will waive additional charges for customers looking to change their reservation during the modified schedule by calling our reservation center at 1-800-USA-RAIL.”

Meanwhile Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus service, issued a service alert Thursday evening indicating that trips in the Midwest or upper Northeast may be canceled or disrupted.

In its alert posted here, the company lists nearly 20 cities as among those impacted. It advised passengers to check for the latest information about specific journeys.

Greyhound said riders can call 1-833-233-8507 to reschedule.

Winter weather is also impacting the services of regional intercity bus company Jefferson Lines, which operates in 14 states.

In an alert posted on its website, the company said nearly 30 routes have been canceled for Friday, with a few cancellations listed on Saturday and Sunday. Cities impacted by the cancellations include Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Duluth and Kansas City.

Affected travelers can consult the Bus Tracker or call 1-858-800-8898.

One traveler’s story

Shane Phillips told CNN he was set to fly from Los Angeles to Seattle to visit family, but when he woke up Friday morning, his Alaska Airlines flight had been canceled.

This would have been Phillips’ first time back to Washington State since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would say they’re (his family) upset, but they’re the ones experiencing the crazy weather, so they understand,” he said.

Phillips says he feels mostly disappointment but not a lot of surprise. “I knew the weather was supposed to be bad, but I was hoping I’d get in before the freezing rain hit,” he added.

Phillips’ family lives about two hours north of Seattle, so if he did make it to the airport, he says he could’ve been stranded. “They totally shut down transit, so I’m not sure how I would’ve left the airport,” Phillips said.

Other airlines had flights available for Saturday, but Phillips said they were priced at $1,000 one-way, “which is just too much.”

Phillips says he will make the best of things — as he’s now planning to attend a friend’s holiday party he would have missed if he’d made it to Seattle.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...

Eric Bradner and Daniel Strauss, CNN

Trump wins all delegates at stake in Michigan GOP convention amid leadership battle

Former President Donald Trump won all 39 delegates at stake at a Michigan Republican convention Saturday, as officials there sought to move past a leadership battle that has split the state party into rival factions.

3 hours ago

A killer whale known as Starboard preys on a great white shark in June off the South African coast,...

 Katie Hunt, CNN

A lone orca slayed a great white in less than two minutes. Scientists say it could signal an ecological shift

A pair of orcas have been killing great whites along a stretch of South African coastline.

1 day ago

Kevin Monahan was convicted of second-degree murder, among other charges..
Mandatory Credit:	Lori V...

Ray Sanchez, CNN

New York man sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for killing woman when car turned in wrong driveway

Kevin Monahan was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for shooting and killing a woman who was a passenger in a car that turned in the wrong driveway.

2 days ago

The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced February 29 that Heritage Store Hydrogen Peroxide ...

John Towfighi, CNN

Mouthwash recalled nationwide over poisoning risk

One brand of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is being recalled nationwide for posing a potential poisoning risk for children.

2 days ago

Protesters gathered outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery in the wake of the IVF ruling on ...

Devon M. Sayers, Shirin Faqiri and Eric Levenson, CNN

Alabama House and Senate approve bills aimed at protecting in vitro fertilization after personhood ruling

The Alabama House and Senate each passed bills Thursday aimed at protecting in vitro fertilization treatments .

2 days ago

Oprah Winfrey...

Jordan Valinsky, CNN

Oprah is leaving WeightWatchers, sending stock tumbling

Oprah Winfrey is leaving the board of WeightWatchers, ending a nearly decade-long stint as a director of the beleaguered company that has faced sudden competition from Ozempic.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Friday flight cancellations top 5,300, disrupting holiday travel