Airlines had canceled more than 2,000 flights Friday as a powerful nor’easter brought rain, snow and severe wind to much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Most carriers were waiving change fees for fliers there.
Nationwide, 2,202 flights had been canceled and another 698 delayed as of 10:10 a.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.
Most of those cancellations were spread across airports in the Northeast, where wind gusts of up to 70 mph were possible. The winds were expected to have an unusually long duration, lasting into Saturday. Some preemptive cancellations were already being reported for Saturday, with nearly 50 already grounded at airports across the Northeast and New England.
For Friday, the storm was snarling flight schedules, including several of the nation’s busiest airports.
More than 40% of the entire day’s schedule had been canceled at New York LaGuardia. Nearly 500 flights -- 247 departures and 246 arrivals – were canceled there as of 9 a.m. ET, according to FlightAware. At Boston, about a third of flights had been canceled and the count continued to grow.
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Many of the region’s other major airports also were seeing significant cancellation tallies. Anywhere from 15% to 25% of the day’s flights had been canceled at the New York JFK, Newark Liberty, Philadelphia, Washington Reagan National, Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., airports.
The cancellation counts also were growing at several others, including Baltimore/Washington, Cleveland, Raleigh/Durham and Richmond, Va.
Most big airlines waived change fees for Friday and Saturday flights to or from affected airports.
The details varied by carrier, but they generally allowed customers to make one change to their itineraries without paying a change fee or fare difference. The policies covered a wide range of airports stretching form Virginia north into New York state and New England.