Air Travel Still Snarled

Aftereffects of mid-Atlantic blizzard force over 1,600 flight cancellations, delays rippling into New England

A day and a half after the snow stopped falling, delays and cancellations kept coming Monday, snarling travel in and out of New England airports hundreds of miles from the worst of the historic mid-Atlantic blizzard.

About 1 of every 12 flights scheduled to leave Boston's Logan International Airport Monday got cancelled, according to delays and cancellation tracked Problems hit New England's smaller airports far harder. With planes stranded in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, delays and cancellations FlightAware showed 21 percent of all scheduled outbound flights at the Burlington and Portland airports Monday got cancelled, 15 percent at Manchester, 8 percent at Bradley International in Connecticut, and 16 percent at T.F. Green in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Jeff Wetzel, up from Washington, D.C., for business training, was at Logan Monday after trying without success to fly home from New Hampshire.

"I was originally scheduled to fly home to D.C. out of Manchester yesterday evening. Haven't been able to get back yet. I'm now on flight attempt number six," Wetzel said Monday afternoon as we interviewed him at Logan's American Airlines gates. "It's just, you know, all right what's the next phone call going to be and what's the next problem and, all right, are we done yet?"

Aaron Levine, of Portland, Maine, "was trying to get to Vegas first thing this morning out of Portland, Maine. And unable to do that, I took a bus to here, and I found a flight out for later in the day -- the only flight I could possibly get to Las Vegas today for a work meeting."

Susan Kline of Swampscott, Mass., and her friend Glenn George of Lynn were lucky enough to get tickets to see the Carolina Panthers win the NFC Championship in Charlotte Sunday. But flying through the mid-Atlantic after an epic blizzard? That was a mess. Flying down, they were three hours late. Coming back, Kline said, "We got on. They cancelled the flight. We went to another flight. We went back. And then we got on, they had to re-ticket everybody" because it was a different model of jetliner with a different seating configuration. That meant another three-hour delay. Despite an exciting football game in the middle, Kline said, as a travel experience, "It was a horrible 24 hours."

Around the country, some 1,600 flights Monday were cancelled.

Naomi Lieberman of Newton, Massachusetts, a senior at at the University of Maryland, was a rare example of someone happy to have to rebook. She was to return to college Sunday, but got warned her flight might get cancelled, which it did. "We switched my flight to Monday, and then I was supposed to start school Tuesday, but they cancelled school, so now I have, like, a few more days off" and her re-booked flight Monday got delayed twice and then ultimately cancelled. The net result for Lieberman? "I'm going to eat more home-cooked food and hang out in my house with my family."

It does look like it will take several more days for airlines to unsnarl their shattered schedules and aircraft deployments. Already on Monday evening, roughly a third of Tuesday's scheduled departing flights from Newark Liberty International Airport and Dulles International Airport outside Washington had been cancelled.

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