US flight cancellations top 2,200 on Christmas Day so far

Atlanta (CNN) — With much of the United States still reeling from a nearly week-long winter storm, flight cancellations and delays and other transportation challenges continued to pile up on Christmas Day.

More than 2,200 flights within, into or out of the United States had already been canceled by 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. And delays on planes that could still take off were almost 5,800. Christmas Day is traditionally an easy day for passenger planes.

To demonstrate the size and impact of the storm, an airport in the Deep South was most affected on Christmas Day. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) – the world’s busiest airport for passengers – saw the most cancellations and delays.

No. 2 was more than 1,000 miles away in the Rocky Mountains with Denver International.

The Denver International kept a sense of humor during the stressful event, posts a tweet of what appeared to be an airport worker playing “Jingle Bells” on a fiddle.

However, the effects of the storm in parts of the West are diminishing. The temperature at 3:30 PM MT at Denver International was already well above freezing at 46 °F (8 °C).

In hard-hit Western New York, things were still too rough for humor.

Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) tweeted that it remains closed until 11 a.m. Tuesday 27 December – extension of a closure which was originally due to end at 11am on Monday.

The temperature at BUF at 3 p.m. ET was 20°F (-7°C) with wind speeds of 24 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

A tough week for flying

A couple of travelers sleep while others line up to pass through a security checkpoint at Denver International Airport on Friday.

A couple of travelers sleep while others line up to pass through a security checkpoint at Denver International Airport on Friday.

David Zalubowski/AP

The massive storm’s arrival was ill-timed for travelers who had begun pushing the Christmas week flying numbers back towards pre-pandemic levels.

On Christmas Eve, a total of 3,487 flights were cancelled, according to FlightAware. Friday was the worst day with 5,934 cancellations, while Thursday saw almost 2,700 cancellations.

This megablast of winter weather across the eastern two-thirds of the nation is forecast to slowly moderate into the final week of the year. As of 5:30 PM ET, there were still more than 260 preemptive cancellations for Monday.

Bus and train offers

On Sunday morning, Greyhound released its latest bus disruptions, which centered around routes in and out of Buffalo and Syracuse, New York.
If you are taking a Greyhound bus, click here for the latest information about your bus.
Amtrak’s latest service notice was posted Friday. It said then that the severe weather “has caused Amtrak to make additional service and cancellations from now through Sunday, December 25.”
The train company said affected customers should be able to catch trains that run at similar times or on a different day. You can click here for the latest Amtrak service alerts on delays or to @AmtrakAlerts on Twitter. Go to @AmtrakNECAlerts for Northeast alerts.

CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.

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