Massive winter storm drives thousands of flights across US

Travelers wait at Southwest Airlines check-in counters at Dallas Love Field airport in Dallas, Texas, United States, December 17, 2021.

Guangming Li | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Airlines have canceled thousands of flights for the second time in a week ahead of a huge winter storm that is expected to affect areas from Texas to New England.

More than 2,200 US flights were canceled on Wednesday and nearly 3,000 scheduled for Thursday, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

The National Weather Service said heavy freezing rain is expected to accumulate from Texas through the Ohio River Valley along with heavy snowfall in the upper Midwest.

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 470 flights Wednesday, or 14% of its schedule, and 805 flights, or 23%, scheduled for Thursday, according to FlightAware. It suspended flights at its home hub of Dallas Love Field on Thursday. American Airlines has canceled more than 537 major flights scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. More than a third of departures scheduled for Thursday from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the largest US hub, have been canceled.

Airlines such as Southwest, American, Delta and United have said they will waive fare differences for travelers planning to rebook flights in the coming days due to the storm.

Last week, airlines canceled more than 4,000 US flights due to another storm that hit the northeast. Carriers typically cancel flights before major weather systems to prevent passengers and crew from getting stranded at airports, making it easier to reset operation the next day.

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