by Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY
Air travelers face thousands of flight cancellations and hours-long delays for the second day in a row.
Airlines had preemptively canceled more than 1,300 flights by 3 a.m. this morning, grounding flights in anticipation of the storm's wrath in the mid-Atlantic. By 11:10 a.m. ET, the number of flights canceled across the USA had ballooned to more than 1,900.
With that, more than 4,100 cancellations have now been reported nationwide since the storm first began affecting flights Monday, according to flight-tracking service FlightStats.
Little snow had fallen as of 8 a.m. ET in Washington, but the city's Dulles and Reagan National Airports each had nearly 600 flight cancellations by sunrise, FlightStats reports. By 11:10 a.m., the totals surpassed 600 cancellations at each of the airport -- even though no snow was on the ground throughout much of downtown Washington.
More than 175 flights had been canceled at Baltimore/Washington International Airport as of 11:10 a.m. ET.
Cancellations also are mounting at the region's delay-prone airports of New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and Philadelphia -- where wind and reduced visibility are the main problems for fliers. Cancellation totals at those airports pale in comparison to those at their D.C. counterparts, but the four airports have more than 550 cancellations combined as of 11:10 a.m. ET, according to FlightStats.
Even airports expecting only a glancing blow from the storm are seeing disruptions today. The Greater Binghamton Airport, for example, warned yesterday afternoon via Twitter that all of United's flights to the city in central New York state had already been axed for today.
Today's problems are all but certain to affect airports around the country. A flight between Houston and Phoenix, for example, could become delayed or canceled if the plane or crew scheduled to fly it gets bogged down elsewhere because of conditions in Washington or New York.
And flight schedules are still recovering in the Midwest, which was hit hard by the storm yesterday. More than 1,800 flights were canceled nationwide yesterday - with a large percentage of that total coming from just three airports: Chicago O'Hare, Chicago Midway and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
More than 120 additional cancellations are being reported this morning at O'Hare and about 50 at Minneapolis as those airports try to return to normal service.
As has become common, most big airlines issued flexible rebooking policies for fliers with flights to, from or through the airports in the storm's path.
The fine print varies by airline, but most allow customers to make one change within a certain rebooking window without paying additional fare or change fees.
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