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Cancellations return: Monday storms snarl air traffic on East Coast

July 18, 2022
4 min read
planes wait at LaGuardia
Cancellations return: Monday storms snarl air traffic on East Coast
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After a quieter couple of weeks for flight cancellations following the chaos travelers experienced for much of June, those at airports Monday got a stark reminder of the problems a round of summer thunderstorms can cause.

As storms hit the East Coast Monday — packing a particular punch in the New York area — cancellations and delays rapidly mounted.

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By late afternoon, nearly a quarter of flights had been canceled at New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA), with close to one-fifth of flights canceled at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), according to data from FlightAware.

Those airports, along with others to the south, saw delays quickly pile up by the hundreds.

The impact of Monday’s storms threatened to escalate into further disruptions, too.

Around 4:30 p.m. Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration reported ground stops in place at LaGuardia and Newark, along with John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York; Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in the D.C. area; along with Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

At one point during that ground stop at LaGuardia, departing planes ended up in long lines on taxiways; around 3 p.m. Monday, there were more than 40 jets waiting for takeoff, according to FlightRadar24 and TPG's analysis.

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As flight operations resumed, things got off to a rocky start.

Several aircraft attempting to land performed go-arounds on the final approach, and some even diverted to nearby airports. One jet, a Southwest Boeing 737 from New Orleans, tried two times to land at LGA but was unsuccessful. The plane finally made it in on its third try, but then waited for a gate.

Out west, Denver International Airport (DEN) was also in a ground stop late Monday afternoon in the midst of storms there.

Throughout the summer, we’ve seen how a round of storms around one key East Coast hub — especially in New York and Florida — can snowball into mass disruptions throughout airlines’ networks.

There have been modest signs of improvement in recent weeks, though, dating back to the Fourth of July weekend. While multiple carriers have still had single weekends in which thousands of flights saw delays, cancellations have not risen to the level seen in June.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pointed to improvements in a recent interview with Fox News, while mentioning he’d still like to see more resiliency on the part of airlines.

Some major airlines have reduced flight schedules in recent weeks as they continue to deal with the impacts of a pilot shortage — a problem that can exacerbate the logistical challenge of planes being in the wrong cities after weather forces schedule disruptions.

That said, given Monday’s mass disruptions, if you’re flying in the next day or two, it’s a good idea to pull up your airline’s app and monitor your flight closely.

Start looking at your flight’s incoming plane: Where is it? If it’s experiencing a cancellation or significant delay, there’s certainly a chance your flight in the next day or two could be affected.

Additional reporting by Zach Griff.

Featured image by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy
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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