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More than 1,300 cancellations as airlines try to recover from winter storms

Feb. 05, 2022
3 min read
An American Airlines Group Inc. plane is seen during snowfall at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. The National Weather Service reports that Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has received 14.1 inches of snow so far in February, more than twice the annual average and the snowiest month in more than 30 years, according to the Associated Press. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg
More than 1,300 cancellations as airlines try to recover from winter storms
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A massive storm earlier in the week continued to make flying a challenge this weekend as airlines struggle to get operations back to normal. The storms have passed, but the impact lingers on.

On Friday, more than 4,000 flights were canceled into, out of or within the U.S., according to flight tracking company Flight Aware.

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It was a better Saturday, with just over 1,300 U.S. cancellations, but that's still a lot of folks out of place and upset. American Airlines is the hardest hit today with more than 845 canceled flights ... that's a whopping 30% of its schedule.

Most of that is attributable to the residual effect of bad weather that hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research, who said American was struggling "getting parts and people back where they need to be."

"We’re in recovery mode and the impact you’re seeing is a result of that," American Airlines told TPG in an email on Saturday.

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

American essentially shut down its massive Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) hub, according to Tim Jue, a San Francisco-based reporter covering airlines and travel.

Jue told me:

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"DFW is American’s biggest hub, and when you shut down that operation — even for a few hours — it has ripple effects throughout the network. The major challenge for restarting an operation after irregular operations is pandemic-era staffing strains. Airlines are great at getting things back up and running after big storms, but having fewer staff on hand complicates and slows that effort."

American affiliate Envoy Air also canceled many flights on Saturday — about 14% of its schedule.

Better news from Southwest, which only canceled 3% of its flights today. That compares to 439 canceled flights on Friday about 12% of its schedule.

Related: 6 real-life strategies to use if your flight is canceled

It's been a rough few weeks for the airlines as cancellations that began the week before Christmas have continued into the second month of the new year. According to a TPG analysis, one out of every 13 flights was canceled over the holidays.

The good news is that the major storms have moved on, and things are looking up for Sunday. As of 4 p.m. on Saturday, only 63 flights are canceled for tomorrow.

Featured image by Bloomberg 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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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
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023