If you’re planning on traveling to the Northeast today, don’t count on getting there on schedule.
Airlines by late afternoon Monday had already canceled 16 nonstop flights from Sea-Tac Airport to the major cities of the Northeast – Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. – for travel today.
More flights could be canceled if damage from Hurricane Sandy proves to be more pervasive than predicted.
SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines had canceled eight flights to and from Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and Washington by early Monday evening, but the airline was waiting to see whether it will be forced to cancel more. Other flights may be delayed because crews aren’t positioned to fly the aircraft back to Seattle.
Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the airline believes the storm itself may have passed through the area by the time flights are scheduled to arrive in those three cities today, but it is concerned about the ability of workers to get to the airport to service planes on the ground and to check in passengers.
The airline is not canceling its Boston flights today unless the storm proves more viral than forecast there.
Nationwide, FlightAware.com reported that 5,153 flights had been canceled to East Coast cities by Monday evening, with more possible as time goes on.
US Airways has erased all flights from its schedules to and from Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Newark for today.
The US Airways hub in Philadelphia will suffer the most canceled flights, 470, with New York’s LaGuardia seeing 432 cancellations. Washington’s Reagan National Airport will have 336 canceled flights, while New York’s JFK will have 336 cancellations. Washington, D.C.’s other airport, Dulles, will have 247 flights canceled.
At Sea-Tac Airport, the flight changes have caused little disruption, said airport spokesman Perry Cooper. On Monday, 21 departures and 22 arrivals were canceled.
Unlike the big hub airports in the nation’s midsection such as Chicago’s O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth, Sea-Tac doesn’t host much connecting traffic, so most travelers who were scheduled to travel to the East early this week can simply stay home until flights resume rather than be marooned at the airport.
Alaska and other airlines have adopted hurricane policies allowing travelers, even those with “nonrefundable” tickets, to get refunds for canceled flights or to change them for later flights without paying a change fee.John Gillie: 253-597-8663 email@example.com