Airlines cancel nearly 14,000 flights due to Hurricane Sandy as tens of thousands of stranded fliers prepare to wait out the stormNumber of flight cancellations nearly doubles from Monday morning’s 8,962 flights to almost 14,000 by the late afternoon
1,300 cancelled on Sunday New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia airports bare brunt of storm prepAmtrak railroads said no East Coast trains will be running Tuesday
International flights to America’s East Coast also cancelledWorst of Hurricane Sandy expected to come Monday evening, Tuesday
Published: 15:21 EDT, 28 October 2012 | Updated: 16:41 EDT, 29 October 2012
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Airlines have cancelled nearly 14,000 flights for today and tomorrow with more cancellations expected as Hurricane Sandy barrels up the Atlantic coast of the United States.
The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights.
Flight-tracking service FlightAware reported cancellations by major carriers including American Airlines, United and Delta into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation’s busiest airspace.
Tens of thousands of stranded passengers are now waiting out the storm across the world, in travel hubs including London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Changed plans: Nearly 15,000 flights have been cancelled over the last three days
Cancellations: All flights out of New York’s three airports, including JFK (pictured), have been grounded
Airports in the metropolitan New York City area are open, but air carriers are not operating.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said today that travelers should not even try to go to Kennedy, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Stewart airports.
Both Philadelphia International Airport and Newark International Airport, a hub for United Airlines, each had more than 1,300 cancellations for last night and 6,814 cancelled as of 9am on Monday.
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Amtrak says it has canceled all Tuesday strictly car service brooklyn ny in the Northeast due to high winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Sandy.
The railroad said passenger service between Boston and Raleigh, North Carolina, and between the East Coast and Chicago, New Orleans and Florida will be suspended for the second day in a row.
Cancellations include Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Keystone and Shuttle service, among other trains.
Passengers were urged to follow developments on Amtrak.com and Facebook and Twitter sites. No decision has yet been made on when service will be resumed.
Amtrak said passengers who have paid but who didn’t travel because of the service disruption can receive a refund or a voucher for future travel.
Stranded: Tens of thousands of passengers, including these tired travellers at JFK, face further delays today
She’s coming: A satellite image taken Sunday morning by the National Hurricane Center shows Sandy heading north
Businessman Alan Shrem was trying to return home to Boca Raton, Florida this morning, but his Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to New York’s Kennedy airport was canceled.
He was told he could be stuck in Hong Kong for nearly a week because the next available seat was November 4. He was put on a waiting list for seats that could become available earlier.
‘They just say: Yeah, it’s a pretty big waiting list,’ said Shrem, throwing up his hands. In the meantime, he will have to pay $400 a night to stay at a nearby hotel. The airline will not pay for accommodation for stranded passengers if delays are weather related.
Air travel in the Northeast began having problems last night, when passengers were reporting delays of hours at airline call centers.
Eileen Merberg, 50, was booked on a United flight from her home in Rochester, N.Y. to New Orleans, connecting at Washington D.C.’s Dulles airport.
She received an email saying the Washington flight was canceled. United rebooked her first on a flight through Newark and, when that flight was also canceled, on another flight through Chicago.
Ominous: In this handout image provided by NASA, Hurricane Sandy churns off the east coast on Sunday out in the Atlantic Ocean
View from Space: Handout satellite image made and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on 28 October 2012 of Hurricane Sandy east of the US state of Georgia
By that point, she had told the higher education conference that she was scheduled to speak at that she would not be coming. She tried to cancel her flight over the phone but waiting times were so long she could not get through.
FlightAware said it expects the number of flight cancellations to ‘rise considerably.’
A spokesman for United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings Inc. said the carrier has suspended an unspecified number of flights to New York and Washington-area airports from last night, with plans to resume on Tuesday if conditions permit.
JetBlue Airways Corp., which flies out of JFK, said it has canceled more than 1,000 flights from Sunday through Wednesday morning.
While other airlines will most likely follow United in paring down their confirmed flight schedules, carriers can point to last year’s Hurricane Irene as a precedent of likely action they will take.
The New York Stock Exchange floor will be closed today as Hurricane Sandy churns up the coastline
During a four-day period in August 2011, as Irene approached the Eastern Seaboard, 14,000 flights were halted as the hurricane traveled over major hubs such as Philadelphia, Newark and JFK airports.
Every major airline in the U.S. has at one hub or ‘center city’ and some, such as United (Newark and Washington Dulles) and US Airways (Philadelphia and Washington National), have two.
Even a slight disruption to one of these airports would affect thousands of flights and tens of thousands of passengers.
If the flight cancellations continue, it could lead to havoc which would create gridlock in the U.S. aviation system and create a backlog of stranded passengers.
However, Sandy is expected to remain in the area for at least 48 hours and disruption to flights is expected to be far greater than that experienced during Irene.
Prepared: The NYSE opened a day after Hurricane Irene reached NYC last year but that storm hit on a Sunday rather than the start of the business week
Stay home: Along with the NYSE most New York transportation is on hold and schools are closed as the city waits for Sandy
Forecasters say Sandy is about 310 miles (505 kilometers) southeast of New York City, and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast tonight.
The National Hurricane Center said early today that the storm has top sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph), with higher gusts, and is on track to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
Every airline has issued a flexible travel policy that allows customers to make changes to their reservations with no penalty and passengers have been told to contact their carrier.
New York is bracing for the storm, with the mass transit system shut down last night, as the city waits for Sandy.
The New York Stock Exchange’s trading floor will be closed Monday and Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, but Big Board trading will continue electronically.
NYSE Euronext said Sunday that it is putting in place its contingency plans beginning today and will announce later when the trading floor will reopen.
Trading has rarely stopped for weather: a blizzard led to a late start and an early close on January 8, 1996, according to the exchange’s parent company, NYSE Euronext. The NYSE shut down on March 27, 1985 for Hurricane Gloria.
The longest suspension in trading at the NYSE since the Great Depression occurred following the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, when the exchange closed for four days.