NE Winter Storm Grounds Several DFW Flights

American Airlines cancels flights for Monday morning

By Susy Solis
|  Monday, Dec 27, 2010  |  Updated 11:04 PM CDT
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East Coast airports are reopening, but travelers on flights canceled Sunday and Monday could be stranded for days.

Omar Villafranca, NBCDFW.com

East Coast airports are reopening, but travelers on flights canceled Sunday and Monday could be stranded for days.

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Northeast Blizzard Strands Travelers in North Texas

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A winter storm is having far-reaching effects on post-holiday travel and may strand passengers in the Metroplex and across the country for days.

Runways reopened Monday evening at several major airports in the Northeast. But hundreds of thousands of travelers across the county are still scrambling for a way home.

Nearly 4,000 flights into and out of the Northeast were canceled Sunday because of severe weather, with thousands more cancellations coming Monday. Major U.S. airlines announced more than 3,100 canceled flights by Monday afternoon.

Fort Worth-based American Airlines canceled 252 flights Monday, with American Eagle adding another 194 cancellations. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines canceled 188 flights.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport felt the effects of those cancellations Monday. At least three dozen flights to Northeast destinations from DFW were canceled Monday, nearly all of them American Airlines flights.

"It's frustrating because I intentionally paid more for a direct flight so I wouldn't get stuck in Chicago or something," said Joy Hart, of New York City, who was stuck at DFW Airport. "At this point, I'm like, 'Five stops, I'm fine. Just get me back.'"

DFW Airport officials said Monday they were expecting some overnight guests.

Airport spokeswoman Sarah McDaniel said teams will provide cots, blankets and hygiene kits to stranded passengers. She said the airport was prepared for at least 100 stranded travelers.

Airports from Raleigh-Durham northward along the Eastern Seaboard all canceled flights because of the blizzard. Boston's Logan Airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said airlines were saying that rebooking could drag into Friday -- the start of another holiday weekend.

Travelers heading for New York's LaGuardia Airport from DFW are being told it could be Friday before they can leave.

AA spokesman Ed Martelle said if the weather clears by Tuesday, the airline can resume a normal schedule by Wednesday. But he declined to say how long stuck passengers might wait for an empty seat.

"Any airline scheduler will tell you it's like playing with a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces keep changing shape," he said. "In some cases we can't give them a new seat because we don't know" when one will be available.

About 6 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's departure flights -- 55 flights -- were canceled Sunday, airport spokesman David Magana said.

Kent Hamilton, a Dallas resident, sat in the airport Sunday for longer than he wanted to waiting for his son to arrive home from college.

"Yeah, the weather has affected his flight becuase the storm has come in from the west and traveled up to the East Coast, so I'm just waiting for him to get here," he said.

American Airlines suggests customers sign up for flight status notifications online before heading to the airport.

Both Southwest and American are allowing passengers to make changes to their tickets at no charge. Call the airlines for details.

NBCDFW's Julie Tam, Frank Heinz, Kevin Cokely and Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.

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