Flights affected at Phoenix Sky Harbor as ‘bomb cyclone’ sweeps across US
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/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 3,200 Friday flights have already been canceled as of 8 a.m. ET, after nearly 2,700 cancellations on Thursday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. In Phoenix, about 58 flights were marked canceled, with 57 delayed flights, a total of 115 affected flights by 6 a.m. local time. By about 9:30 a.m. over 100 flights were delayed and more than 60 were canceled. One flight, Sky Harbor officials said, had to be diverted due to wintery conditions.
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 3,200 Friday flights have were canceled as of 8 a.m. ET, after nearly 2,700 cancellations on Thursday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
Cancellations are highest at New York’s LaGuardia and in Detroit, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, and Boston, according to FlightAware data.
Some families managed to be reunited just in time for the holidays. Such was the case for Ashley Short, who started to crochet as she waited for her stepdaughter’s delayed flight to make its way to the runway. Short had four kids in tow, keeping them busy with video games. “With her living in another state, it’s hard sometimes because we don’t get to see her that often so the holidays are especially happy because we get to be reunited and be a family and feel complete and together again,” said Short.
Big sister, Tzeitel Short’s flight landed just an hour late. When she made her way to the arrival lobby, she ran to her stepmom and hugged her younger brothers and sisters. “I haven’t seen them in how many months?” Tzeitel asked her dad, Jake. “It’s only been a couple months, but it feels like forever sometimes,” he answered.
The same rings true for the Fedenheim family, eagerly waiting for Army Pvt. Xavier Fedenheim to make his way home. His delayed flight added a few more anxious hours to a reunion five months in the making. “I’m glad to be here. I’ve been working hard. And it’s nice to have a break with the families and spend the holidays here,” he said. “A nice warm bed to sleep in. Not cardboard,” added his mother, Denise.
It’s the little things that mean so much. The Fedenheim plans to volunteer at a food bank to help others spend the holidays without their families.
Traveling by car in Arizona?
AAA says its data shows that 2022 holiday travel will be the third busiest travel season in more than 20 years, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and despite inflation.
More than 2.1 million Arizonans are anticipated to hit the road or the skies for the 11 days between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2: a 3.3% increase over 2021′s data. Nationally more than 102 million people will be traveling by car and 7.2 million will fly. “With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday, heavier traffic can be expected through the end of the year,” said Brian Ng, senior vice president of membership and travel marketing for AAA Arizona.
The FAA noted early Friday it may have to halt or restrict traffic at airports in the Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington areas.
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.
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, five or ten 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.
Alternative transportation options are impacted as well
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.
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 bustracker.greyhound.com for the latest information about specific journeys.
Greyhound said riders can call 1-833-233-8507 to reschedule.
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