Thanks, Blizzard: Air Travel May Not Get Back to Normal Until Next Week

January 5, 2018, 2:33 PM UTC
Massive Winter Storm Brings Snow And Heavy Winds Across Large Swath Of Eastern Seaboard
Dia Dipasupil—Getty Images

After a brutal Thursday for air travelers, Friday isn’t starting off much better. As of 9:00 am ET, nearly 1,500 flights had already been cancelled and another 7,000 were delayed—the lingering effects from a crippling winter storm that largely shut down airports in the Northeast.

While the hurricane force winds and blizzard-like conditions are largely gone now, the process of getting stranded travelers to their destinations and getting planes back on their normal routes might take until early next week, say travel experts.

“The best news in all this is that we are in one of the slowest, if not the slowest time of year for travel,” says Chris McGinnis, editor of the TravelSkills.com blog. “That means that once everything thaws out, the airlines will not have too much trouble re-accommodating everyone since there’s plenty of excess capacity [empty seats] in the system. … Depending on the weather, I think everything will be back to ‘normal’ by Monday or Tuesday after airlines spend the weekend cleaning up.”

The delays came as a powerful winter storm, fueled by a bomb cyclone and another Arctic blast, pounded the Northeast with high winds, snow, and frigid temperatures.

Today, airports are encouraging passengers to continue to check with their carriers before leaving their home.

Thursday’s storms delayed 16,363 flights and resulted in the cancellation of 5,497 flights, according to FlightAware. That followed 12,275 delays and 1,893 cancellations on Wednesday.