Airports across New York have canceled the majority of flights this Monday as a major snowstorm approaches the region. John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark International Airport have canceled over 300 flights thus far, while LaGuardia Airport has called off all commercial flights.
Flights grind to a halt as snowstorm looms
New York is bracing itself for one of the biggest snowstorms in years this Monday, forcing airports and airlines to cancel thousands of flights. According to USA Today, 1,400+ flights have been canceled so far due to storm Orlena. New Yorkers have been told to expect over 20 inches of snowfall as the major ‘nor’easter’ snowstorm hits.
Newark International Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport have canceled over 150 flights each, with LaGuardia Airport scrapping all commercial flights.
Airline carriers at #LGA have canceled all commercial flights for today. Please contact your airline for further information before traveling to the airport.
— LaGuardia Airport. Wear a Face Covering. (@LGAairport) February 1, 2021
Other airports have also been affected by the storm, including Chicago O’Hare and Harrisburg International Airport. Along with flight cancellations, public transportation in the New York area has been significantly reduced, while New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has restricted all non-essential travel from 06:00 Monday onwards.
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Airlines issue travel waivers
In response to the cancellations, airlines have issued travel waivers for affected passengers. American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United have all issued alerts and relaxed their rebooking policies. These airlines are allowing travelers to make free changes to their bookings – this includes waiving not only the change fee but also the fare difference. However, travelers will need to rebook and travel within deadlines to qualify.
For example, Delta and American Airlines travelers must rebook and complete their journey by February 6th. For JetBlue, this expires a day earlier, while United has given travelers until February 7th. Meanwhile, Southwest has offered a two-week deadline. While many carriers have waived their change fees altogether during the pandemic, travelers would still have to pay fare differences under normal circumstances.
Northeastern U.S shuts down for Storm Orlena
Cities across the Northeastern United States have to deal with major snowstorms on almost a yearly basis. Storm Orlena is expected to be one of the biggest storms in recent memory, with snowfall of 18-24 inches expected around New York. This winter season has already seen a major nor’easter hit in December, dumping more snow in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C over a couple of days than the entire previous winter.
Locals across the northeast were already stockpiling essentials on Sunday night to prepare for the storm. The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned around three inches of snow will fall per hour along with wind gusts of up to 90km/h. Mayor de Blasio advised residents to stay home, saying,
‘New Yorkers should stay home, keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles and let our plows work to keep us safe. Make no mistake: this storm will bring heavy snowfall and it will make travel dangerous in every neighborhood in our city.’
Have your travel plans been affected by Storm Orlena? Feel free to share your story in the comments.