Superstorm Sandy Leaves Thousands of Travelers Stranded

As Hurricane Sandy continues to pummel the east coast, a total of around 15,000 flights have been cancelled to and from the area over the last three days and it could be a while before many passengers get to travel again.

FlightAware, a flight-tracking service, reports major carriers such as American Airlines, United, and Delta cancelled all their flights to and from three area airports in New York. Since this is the nation’s busiest airspace, with about a quarter of all U.S. flights traveling from these airports each day, cancellations here have a major impact in other places. Flights to other airports in Newark, Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston and Philadelphia have also been cancelled.

Not only are passengers within the U.S. affected but flyers across Europe and Asia are stuck as well.

FlightAware breaks down some of today’s International cancellations as follows:  “77 flights to or from London, Heathrow, and eight from Manchester […] seven from Dublin, 20 from Paris, nine from Brussels, six from Rome, seven from Zurich, nine from Munich, nine from Amsterdam, and 13 from Frankfurt.”

There are some 50,000 flight passengers across the globe impacted by this massive storm.

Sandy is now rated as a ‘post-tropical’ superstorm and has forced these airport closures ‘until further notice.’ There are no guarantees for travelers regarding when flights will resume.

A Nippon Airways spokeswoman, Megumi Tezuka, said “all flights to New York yesterday and today are cancelled. What will happen tomorrow no one knows.”

Angela Gittens, who is the Director General of Airports Council International, a trade group for airports worldwide, said “The storm has such a wide swath and so many major airports are involved that it’s going to take some time (to recover) because those airplanes are so far away.” This means that even if the damage itself is minor, it could be days before operations return to normal at many of the airports affected.

Passengers may be given the opportunity to either rebook or apply for a refund, but they should check with their airlines for a more accurate understanding of the different options available. Even if travelers get a refund on their ticket, many will still have to pay out of pocket for accommodation expenses, such as hotel stays and food, since airline companies typically don’t pay for such weather-related costs.

Not only has flight travel halted but railroad services have come at a stand-still as well. Amtrak has cancelled all its north-east services today and encourages passengers to follow developments on Amtrak.com and social sites. Passengers whose travel has been disrupted are eligible for a refund or voucher from the company.

For further updates and tracking flights, go to FlightAware.com.

Featured Image: Associated Press

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