Thousands of Flights in the U.S. Are Being Cancelled. Here’s Why

Flights across the country are being grounded, with more on the way.

Blizzard warnings have been issues across the United States this week. Due to Winter Storm Olive, more than 2,500 flights have already been canceled. 

Flight Aware, which tracks cancellations, reported at least 1,975 flights were canceled today alone, while 13,019 flights were delayed.

“A major winter storm will affect a large portion of the country this week. Heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain is likely across the western and northern tier portions of the United States. Extreme impacts are likely, and historic snowfall is possible near Minneapolis, MN,” tweeted the National Weather Service on Tuesday.

Winter Storm Olive Is Moving Across the Country

Winter Storm Olive is expected to hit 20-22 states, at least, with a potentially record-setting mixture of snow, rain and strong winds. 

After hitting the Great Lakes, New England and portions of New York this week, Winter Storm Olive traveled to the Northern Plains before hitting the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region, as well as the Northeast this week, according to the NWS. 

The service has reported wind gusts between 60-80 mph in parts of the West and High Plains. South Dakota, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan have all seen at least one foot of snow, while Minneapolis could see up to two feet. 

In addition to the snow, “Nearly 1 million people were left without power on Thursday morning with Michigan the worst-impacted state,” reports The Independent. California is also expected to see a blizzard this weekend.


More Flight Delays Are Expected

As of Wednesday, the most affected airports were Denver International Airport (DEN), Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), as reported by The Points Guy, which notes that the “number is only expected to grow and spread to other Northeastern airports as the day wears on.”

At this point, if you were going to fly in the next few days, it would be wise to adjust your plans if possible. A number of airlines offer a weather waiver, which allows customers to alter their itinerary with no fare differences, as long as they remain in the same cabin as originally booked. (i.e. you’d have to pay extra for a cabin upgrade.)

Airlines that can offer a weather waiver include American  (AAL) – Get Free Report, Delta  (DAL) – Get Free Report, Frontier  (ULCC) – Get Free Report, JetBlue  (JBLU) – Get Free Report, Spirit Airlines  (SAVE) – Get Free Report, Southwest  (LUV) – Get Free Report and United Airlines  (UAL) – Get Free Report.

Additionally, you may be eligible for a timely refund if your flight is canceled, per government regulation, and you can book a different flight or receive a credit voucher instead of getting your money back.

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