Grounded flights impact on D/FW



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Posted on October 28, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 6:14 AM

D/FW AIRPORT — One of the biggest nightmares from Hurricane Sandy is simply getting around.

It's estimated that the superstorm will be threatening some 60 million people along the Eastern Seaboard, but its impact reaches all the way to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

As of mid-morning Monday, airlines had announced 188 total cancellations, which is less than 20 percent of D/FW's total scheduled departures. The cancellations were mostly affecting service to northeast airports in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

Airport staff are hoping to resume regular flight schedules by midday Wednesday.

Passengers scrambled to make alternative arrangements to beat the storm's arrival. Jeff and Emily Brooker of Boston thought they'd be able to get away on Sunday, but learned on the shuttle ride to D/FW that their flight would not be taking off.

"We expected to kind of sneak in before the storm, and now we're scrambling like everyone else," Jeff said. "We could literally see the flights melting away online as we were searching for something."

The Brookers managed to grab the last two seats on a flight to Detroit; they will rent a car from there to get back to Boston.

Other travelers, like Martin Dubovic, weren't as lucky. His return flight to Boston on JetBlue was pushed back to Thursday.

"I'm not going to be getting paid, and I have to pay for a hotel, too, so it's like I'm losing money in two ways," he said, adding: "At least we're not stuck in the storm, and we'll get to see a little more of Dallas."

For the Brookers, though one could easily cry at this point, they choose to laugh.

"I don't know that I've ever high-fived anyone for spending $1,100 to go to Detroit, but there's a first time for everything," Jeff Brooker said.

Their drive from Detroit to Boston will take about 11 hours, barring any weather-related slowdowns.

D/FW is advising passengers with travel plans to the northeast this week to check with their airlines or travel agents, if they haven't already heard from their carriers.

This really is just the beginning. American Airlines told us that it has already pre-canceled 1,431 flights through Wednesday; more than 3,500 additional flights have been grounded by other carriers.

Travelers are urged to contact their airline before heading to the airport.

And it's not just airline passengers feeling the heat. New York and Philadelphia moved to shut down their public transit systems on Sunday night.

Amtrak says it is canceling service across the northeastern U.S. on Monday as Hurricane Sandy threatens to create a wet, windy mess in the region.

Amtrak said in a news release Sunday that it was canceling all service north of New York at 7 p.m. Nearly all service across the Eastern Seaboard will be canceled starting Monday.

Amtrak says it has not yet determined when train services will resume. Alternate transportation is not available.

Some trains will continue to run in Florida and the Carolinas. The news release says customers can receive a refund or voucher for future travel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.