The USA TODAY Weather map shows a winter storm moving across the Great Lakes on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Photo: USA TODAY Weather)
Old Man Winter isn’t done creating headaches for air travelers.
Another storm has snarled flights across the Midwest, coming just days after an earlier storm caused thousands of flight cancellations from the Great Plains into the Northeast.
Airlines are waiving change fees for several airports in the path of the latest storm, dubbed “Winter Storm Indra” by The Weather Channel.
Nationwide, more than 600 flights had been canceled Wednesday and another 1,465 delayed, flight-tracking firm FlightAware counted as of 10:55 a.m. ET. Wednesday’s problems are on top of another 1,500 cancellations reported on Tuesday.
The hardest-hit airport from the latest storm is Detroit, which was forced to halt all flights late Tuesday because of icy conditions. The airport said shortly after 10 a.m. ET that flights had resumed. Still, travelers should expect lingering delays and cancellations there.
Local report: Detroit Metro Airport closed due to winter weather
So far Wednesday, a combined 260 arrivals and departures had been canceled at Detroit. That accounted for close to 20 percent of the entire day’s schedule, by FlightAware’s count. A similar number of cancellations were reported there on Tuesday.
Detroit is a major hub for Delta Air Lines, which was waiving change fees for customers ticketed to fly through the airport on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Detroit Metropolitan Airport is now open. At this time, one runway, the surrounding taxiways & deice pads are operating. Maintenance crews will continue working hard to reopen the rest of the airfield. Customers are still encouraged to check with their airline for flight status.
Storm-related problems weren’t confined to Detroit.
More than 130 combined arrivals and departures were grounded at Chicago O’Hare, representing about 5 percent of the daily schedule there. O’Hare is a hub for both American and United, and each were waiving rebooking fees.
Smaller airports seeing a spike in cancellations Wednesday included Lexington, Kentucky; Moline/Quad City, Illinois; and South Bend, Indiana.
The storm was expected to move east Wednesday into Thursday, though most of the big cities along the East Coast were forecast to get rain rather than snow.
Still, flyers traveling through the region should keep an eye open for delays and cancellations, which could still climb Wednesday as the storm continues to move eastward.
Residual problems also remained possible on Wednesday for airports that were hit hard on Tuesday.
At Chicago O’Hare, about 770 combined arrivals and departures — or about 1 out of every 3 flights – were canceled Tuesday, according to FlightAware. About 20 percent of Tuesday’s schedule was canceled at Boston and about 15 percent at Chicago Midway.
Several big airlines – including American, Delta, United, Southwest and Frontier – had fee waivers in place that covered at least some of the airports being affected by the storms.
Details varied by carrier, but – with some fine print – they allowed eligible flyers to make one change to their itineraries without paying a recalculated fare or change fees that typically cost $200 and up. Southwest does not charge change fees, but its waivers allow one change at the previously booked fare.
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