A technician who works under contract for the Federal Aviation Administration cleans ice off radio antennas at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill., after a winter storm, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013.
(Photo: David Proeber, AP)
(USA TODAY) Airlines have canceled more than 1,900 flights during the past 72 hours as the second winter storm in 5 days plows through the central United States. In addition to canceling flights, airlines are also waiving fees for passengers flying through the storm's path.
Today, Feb. 26, the storm takes aim at the major air travel hub of Chicago as well as busy Midwest airports like Kansas City. Airlines preemptively canceled flights as the storm neared, with more than 180 cancellations being reported at Chicago O'Hare and nearly 100 at Kansas City as of 1:30 a.m. ET this morning, according to FlightStats.
By 9:30 a.m. ET, those totals had ballooned to 345 cancellations at Chicago O'Hare and 117 at Kansas City, FlightStats reports.
Yesterday the storm snarled flights in Texas and the southern Great Plains, forcing two Texas airports -- Lubbock and Amarillo -- to close for the day because of blizzard conditions. Not a single passenger flight operated at either airport on yesterday, though both hoped to resume flights sometime this morning.
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Some Lubbock flights appear to have resumed as of 9 a.m. ET. At Amarillo, however, most flights remain canceled through early afternoon, according to the websites of the airlines that serve the airport. The Federal Aviation Administration's flight delay mapindicates Amarillo will not reopen until after 1 p.m. ET.
Dallas/Fort Worth also took a hit from the storm on Monday, with 229 flights canceled for the day, according to FlightStats. DFW's cancellations came from a combination of strong winds at DFW and because flights from other cities were canceled.
Nationwide, more than 600 flights were canceled Monday, according to FlightStats. Not all those cancellations can be tied directly to the storm, though nearly all came to or from airports in the storm's path.
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Sunday also was a rough day for air travel because of the storm. Airlines scrapped 775 flights across the USA as the storm developed in the Rockies. Most of those came in wintry Denver, where Southwest suspended most of its schedule and all of the airport's airlines cumulatively canceled nearly 600 flights, according to FlightStats.
The storm is the second to hit the region in just four days, following one late last week that prompted airlines to cancel more than 2,000 flights Thursday and Friday at airports from Texas and Colorado to the Great Lakes.
This week's storm is hitting many of the airports that were hit by poor weather last week.
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As has become common, most big airlines issued flexible rebooking policies for fliers with flights to, from or through the airports in the storm's path.
The fine print varies by airline, but most allow customers to make one change within a certain rebooking window without paying additional fare or change fees. Depending on the carrier, the winter-weather waivers cover airports from as far west as New Mexico and as far East as Vermont.
Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY