On Friday, more than 5,700 U.S. flights were canceled as significant winter storms disrupted airport operations throughout the country and upset tens of thousands of Christmas visitors.
This follows roughly 2,700 canceled flights on Thursday, and Flight Aware reports that just over 1,000 flights have already been canceled for Saturday.
Amtrak has canceled scores of trains until Christmas, affecting one’s travel plans of tens of thousands.
Authorities in portions of Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio recommended travelers avoid non-essential travel as winter weather and accidents caused significant delays on Midwestern highways.
Due to cold weather, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforced ground halts or de-icing delays at several U.S. airports.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN that the U.S. aviation sector is “working under extraordinary pressure” due to the impact of two separate storms and strong winds on airports. Buttigieg said that around 10% of U.S. flights were canceled on Thursday.
After 11,300 flights were delayed on Thursday, another 10,400 flights were delayed on Friday, including more than 40 percent of those operated by American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines.
Southwest canceled 1,238 flights, or 29% of its planned flights, on Friday, but Alaska Airlines canceled 507, or 64% of its flights.
Friday saw a lot of cancellation of 357 flights, or 63% of departures, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The FAA removed a ground halt due to snow and ice, but delays averaged over three hours as of Friday night.
Nearly fifty percent of outgoing flights at Detroit Metro were canceled, seventy percent at Portland, 38 percent at New York’s LaGuardia, 29 percent at Chicago O’Hare, and twenty-seven percent at Boston.
With wind chills of – 24 degrees Fahrenheit, Chicago was experiencing dangerously low temperatures (minus 31 Celsius).