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Archive for Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane leads to thousands of canceled flights

Travelers faced with headaches

August 28, 2011

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— Travelers across the country are facing days of grief ahead as thousands of flights get canceled because of Hurricane Irene.

Airlines are scrapping more than 9,000 flights this weekend from North Carolina to Boston, grounding passengers as Irene sweeps up the East Coast. There were more than 3,600 cancellations on Saturday alone.

All New York City-area airports closed to arriving flights at noon on Saturday, when the city’s public transportation system shut down. The biggest airlines, United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., canceled thousands of flights each. United Continental, the world’s largest airline, suspended operations altogether in the New York area. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport were both open Saturday afternoon, but most flights had been canceled.

Airlines declined to say how many passengers would be affected by the hurricane, but the numbers will likely reach into the millions. That’s because so many flights, both domestic and international, make connections through major East Coast hub airports. Even passengers not flying anywhere near the East coast could be delayed for days as airlines work to get planes and crews back into position.

Train and bus service was also cut back. Greyhound suspended service between Richmond, Va. and Boston for the weekend. Amtrak reduced its Northeast schedule Saturday and canceled all trains from Washington to Boston today. Amtrak has five main routes throughout the Northeast, each serving multiple cities, as well as regional service in Virginia and several long-distance trains that start and end in the area.

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