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Winter storms lead to thousands more airline cancellations and delays

Jan. 16, 2022
3 min read
NEW JERSEY, USA - JANUARY 07: A United Airlines plane is seen as runway covered with snow at Newark Liberty International Airport on January 7, 2022 in New Jersey, United States as massive snow storm hits the east coast. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Winter storms lead to thousands more airline cancellations and delays
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A nascent recovery in airline operations has been dealt a giant setback this weekend. More than 2,800 flights were canceled by mid-afternoon on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022.

Today, it's not just the omicron variant and sick employees, but a series of storms slamming the southern and eastern United States.

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Especially hard hit? Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) — American Airlines' second-largest hub. Charlotte has had more than 1,200 flights canceled, according to flight tracking company Flight Aware.

The Points Guy freelance reporter Ted Reed said Charlotte Airport "is basically closed."

Reached for comment on Sunday, American Airlines told TPG:

"This weekend’s winter storm has had a significant impact on our operation, especially at Charlotte International Airport (CLT). The vast majority of impacted flights were canceled in advance so we could proactively notify and accommodate our customers and avoid last-minute disruptions at the airport."

More than 80 million Americans are under some kind of winter storm advisory today.

According to Flight Aware, American Airlines has canceled 22% of its flights today — that's more than 633 flights. Delta cut 10% or 240 flights and Southwest has cut 9% of its flights. The weather is creating downstream impacts as well, with nearly every airline cutting or delaying flights today.

(Screenshot courtesy of Flight Aware)

American told me that including pre-canceled flights, the number was actually closer to 1,300. American said, "We apologize to our customers whose travel plans have been affected, and want to thank our team who have worked tirelessly to help us safely care for our customers."

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Related: Here’s what to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

There is some good news for travelers.

The major airlines have all announced travel waivers for flights affected by the storms. American Airlines, for example, is allowing free changes and cancellations for more than 20 states.

Related: 1 in 13 flights was canceled during the holidays

AA Northeast travel waiver. (Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

Southwest's waiver language is common:

"Customers holding reservations to/from/through the cities above on the corresponding dates, may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying any additional charge."

A Southwest spokesman, reached for comment Sunday, told me, "For necessary perspective, we had 3,300 flights scheduled for today before planners started their work 24-36 hours ago to adapt our operational plan for Sunday around the most impacted geographies for the winter storm being called Izzy."

As of 2 p.m. Southwest had canceled 312 flights and delayed another 243.

Delta told TPG they had instituted a number of steps to try and deal with today's storms including canceling approximately 400 flights, adding weather waivers and positioning employees at airports and airport hotels to, " ... quickly be in place for the morning operations."

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said, "Of the customers' flights that were impacted, more than 85% have been given a new scheduled flight times within eight hours of their original flight."

Featured image by Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees