Winter storm: LaGuardia Airport closes, 1,600+ flights canceled throughout East Coast

Airlines have issued travel waivers for Monday and Tuesday as snow pounds the mid-Atlantic and Northeast and cities along the densely populated I-95 corridor brace for record snowfall that could pile up to 2 feet in some areas.

The snow, which has yet to stop falling, led New York City’s LaGuardia Airport to shut down for the day, canceling all 200+ commercial flights for Monday. Officials at JFK tweeted that airport has canceled 83% of Monday’s schedule – upward of 300 flights – and expects that number to keep climbing. The snow has also hampered its AirTrain service, forcing the airport to provide shuttle buses between terminals.

As of 2 p.m. EST, above-ground subway service had also been suspended in New York, though below-ground trains continued to operate. 

In New York and New Jersey, many COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Monday were canceled because of the storm. In-person learning was also canceled in school districts across the Northeast on Monday.

Blizzard conditions are possible in some areas of the Northeast “because the winds are going to be so strong in addition to the heavy snowfall,” AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rosio said.  “Driving will certainly be dangerous, it is not recommended.”

The National Weather Service also forecast that winds could gust between 35 to 50 mph, reducing visibility with drifting snow and leading to danger of falling tree branches and power lines.

In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency, shutting down all transit hubs and six vaccine megasites for Monday.

Airlines issue waivers and proactively cancel flights so they don’t strand passengers and planes. The destinations covered, travel dates and other fine print vary by airline and are likely to change with the storms’ projected path and severity. 

Most major airlines, including Delta, American, Southwest and United, have issued waivers through Tuesday, though the travel period depends on the city.

According to FlightAware, at least 1,640 flights have been canceled for Monday with about another 440 scrubbed for Tuesday.

American Airlines

Travel dates covered:  Feb. 1-2

Destinations covered: 28, including all Washington and New York metro area airports, as well as cities as far north as Portland, Maine and as far inland as Pittsburgh.

More details:  https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/travel-alerts.jsp

Delta Air Lines

Travel dates covered:  Feb. 1-2

Destinations covered: 15, from Washington Dulles International up to New York JFK.

More details:  https://www.delta.com/us/en/advisories/weather-alerts/midwest-winter-weather

JetBlue Airways

Travel dates covered:  Feb. 1-2

Destinations covered: JetBlue has issued two waivers: the first covering the New York and Boston areas through Tuesday and the second covering Washington Reagan and Richmond, Virginia, through Monday.

More details:  https://www.jetblue.com/travel-alerts

Southwest Airlines

Travel dates covered:  Feb. 1-2

Destinations covered: Baltimore and Washington airports are covered through Monday; Philadelphia and New York are covered through Tuesday. 

More details:  https://www.southwest.com/html/advisories/swa_travel_advisory_20210291611970414825.html

United Airlines

Travel dates covered:  Feb. 1-2

Destinations covered: United has issued three separate waivers. The first, covering airports from Des Moines to Detroit, covers travel through Monday. The second, covers airports in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania through Monday. The third covers airports in the following cities through Tuesday: New York; Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; and Portland, Maine.

More details:  https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html#northamerica-waivers

 Contributing: Doyle Rice and Ryan Miller

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