NEW YORK — The relentless snow and ice storms this winter have led to the highest number of flight cancellations in more than 25 years, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
U.S. airlines have canceled more than 75,000 domestic flights since Dec. 1, including more than 14,000 this week. That’s 5.5 percent of the 1.37 million flights scheduled during that period, according calculations based on information provided by flight tracking site FlightAware.
It’s the highest total number and highest percent of cancellations since at least the winter of 1987-1988, when the Department of Transportation first started collecting cancellation data.
The nation’s air traffic system was still recovering Friday from the latest bad weather. Flights were taking off again but thousands of passengers weren’t.
Mother Nature isn’t entirely to blame. A mix of cost-cutting measures and new government regulations has made airlines more likely to cancel flights and leave fliers scrambling to get to their destination.
There were days this week where more than 70 percent of flights were canceled in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Charlotte, N.C. Even typically warmer- weather cities were not immune. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was paralyzed Wednesday by ice and snow.
Bradley Voight, 25, was one of those trapped in Atlanta after his Spirit Airlines flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Wednesday was canceled. After a night sleeping in the airport, he got home late Thursday.