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Christmas Flights Snarled By New Winter Storm

9:17 AM, Dec 26, 2012   |    comments
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Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

A major winter storm threatens to disrupt flights today (Wednesday) for thousands fliers headed home from the Christmas holiday.

More than a dozen major airports lie in the path of the storm, which stretched from the Midwest to the East Coast as of 8:45 a.m. ET this morning.

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And, as is now a common occurrence during major weather events, most big airlines had enacted flexible rebooking policies for customers scheduled to fly to or through the storm's path.

Blizzard warnings covered areas surrounding the Cleveland and Indianapolis airports, while windy wintry weather a number of others at a significant risk of delay. Among those: Detroit, Cincinnati, Columbus (Ohio), Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

Already, Cleveland's Fox 8 News reported that United "had already cancelled 60% of its flights beginning at noon on Wednesday." Cleveland is a hub for United, meaning that problems there are likely to ripple out and affect other airports in the carrier's route network.

AIRLINE WEATHER WAIVERS: Air Canada | AirTran |Delta | Porter | Southwest | United | US Airways |

Elsewhere in the region, flight-monitoring service FlightStats shows significant delaysat several Midwest airports, including Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Indianapolis and Dayton.

Chicago O'Hare will miss the storm this time around, but flights there could see sporadic delays because of windy conditions -- and because of delays to Chicago-bound flights at other airports.

The storm also is expected to affect airports all along the East Coast. Wintry precipitation and poor visibility are forecast for the already delay-prone airports in Philadelphia and the New York City area. Strong winds could also create sporadic delays at other big airports in the East - including the world's busiest airport in Atlanta.

The three big airports in the Washington/Baltimore area should escape most of weather-related problems that are expected elsewhere in the region today, though some sporadic problems are possible.

And, as of 8:45 a.m. ET, congestion from busy post-holiday flight schedules is creating "volume" delays of about 30 minutes on some flights at BWI. And, also as of 8:45 a.m. ET, FlightStats reports some minor to moderate deicing delays on some flights at Dulles. And, of course, problems at other airports that affect Washington-bound flights could create problems for flight schedules at the three D.C.-area airports.

By this evening, the effects of the storm - notably strong winds - will extend into New England, adding Boston, Hartford and Providence to the list of airports where fliers could run into weather-related problems.

Next update: by 11 a.m. ET

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, though delays and cancellations at other airports will affect at least a handful of today's flights at Washington Dulles, Washington National and Baltimore/Washington (BWI) airports.

, though delays and cancellations at other airports will affect at least a handful of today's flights at Washington Dulles, Washington National and Baltimore/Washington (BWI) airports.


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