Delta cancels 850 flights, expects more cancellations

1:03 PM, Dec 27, 2010   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Airlines are working to rebook stranded passengers and possibly add flights after a winter storm on the East Coast caused thousands of flight cancellations and left countless passengers stranded.

Air carriers began canceling flights Saturday, ahead of the storm, in an effort to avoid stranding passengers at airports as much as possible.

Blizzard warnings stretched from New Jersey to Maine. Up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow were expected in Philadelphia and Boston and up to 16 inches (41 centimeters) in New York City.

Delta Airlines, which has canceled 850 flights, says it expects some cancellations tomorrow as the storm moves through the Northeast, but a spokesman said that was still being determined.

"We expect there will be cancellations in the Northeast, including New York and Boston, through the morning tomorrow," Kent Landers, Delta spokesman, said. "As we get into the afternoon and certainly by Tuesday morning we are aiming to resume normal operations throughout the East Coast."

A spokesman for United Airlines, which canceled 110 flights Sunday, said it could add more flights Monday to accommodate stranded passengers, but final decisions were due later in the evening.

Continental said it had canceled 265 mainline and regional flights Sunday and said only that it continues to monitor the storm.

"We are continuing to monitor the storm's progress and its potential impact on the operation," said spokesman Andrew J. Ferraro.

U.S. Airways began canceling flights Saturday evening and canceled more Sunday for a total of 679 mainline and regional express flights. It canceled 110 Monday flights, mainly in Northeast cities including Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

The earlier cancellations were being done to try to avoid both passengers and crews getting stranded at airports, said spokesman Jim Olson.

American Airlines canceled 262 flights Sunday and spokeswoman Mary Sanderson said 171 flights Monday in and out of airports in the Northeast, including Boston, all three New York airports, Philadelphia and Norfolk were canceled. Most of the cancellations are concentrated in the morning, so those with flights at that time should check.

A few really early morning flights out of Washington and Richmond, Va., also have been canceled.

Cancellations are not only because of the heavy snow, but the gusty winds expected, which makes it difficult to de-ice planes, Sanderson said.

Passengers can book a later flight one time without charge, she said.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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