Winter weather snarls flights Tuesday with thousands of cancellations

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Thousands of flights across the U.S. were canceled or delayed Tuesday morning as a winter storm swept across the nation for the second day in a row.

More than 1,700 flights to, from and within the U.S. had been canceled by 11:15 a.m. EST, and more than 3,715 had been delayed, according to data from FlightAware.

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The major disruption comes as much of the country saw its first significant snowfall in two years, and freezing temperatures swept across much of the middle and eastern portions of the continent.

Temperatures reached as low as the teens in Texas, while a band of snow moved into the Northeast, covering the Interstate 95 corridor. More than 3,300 U.S. flights were scrapped Monday.

On Tuesday morning, Southwest led the cancellations with 391 (10% of its schedule) and 558 delays (15%). The Dallas-based carrier, which also led cancellations Monday, appeared to struggle as the weather system swept through several of its key focus cities all at once, including Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver and Baltimore.

United Airlines was not far behind, with 321 mainline cancellations (13%) and 413 delays (17%).

On the other end of the scale, Delta Air Lines had just 38 mainline cancellations (1%) Tuesday morning, but with 443 delays (15%), that number appeared likely to climb. Two regional airlines that operate for Delta and others — Republic Airways and SkyWest Airlines — also showed significant disruptions. Republic had 150 canceled flights (16%) and 197 delays (21%), while SkyWest had 138 cancellations (7%) and 183 delays (9%).

The storm’s sheer breadth made the disruptions worse, with flights snarling across much of the country.

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Related: Flight canceled or delayed? Here’s what to do next

New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) led the number of canceled departures, with 108 flights scrubbed, or 20% of its departures for the day, and another 209 delayed (39%). Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) followed with 103 cancellations (23%) and 88 delays (20%).

Other severely affected airports included Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) — with 74 outbound cancellations (8%) and 155 delays (16%) — along with Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), which had 74 canceled departing flights (13%) and 86 delays (15%). IAH struggled even more with arriving flights, with 127 canceled (21%) and 75 delayed (12%).

The cancellations were complicated by the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 9, which makes up a significant part of United’s and Alaska Airlines’ fleets. (Alaska had 96 cancellations, 16% of its schedule, and 38 delays Tuesday morning.)

The grounding comes after a door plug fell from an Alaska Airlines jet midflight Jan. 5. The FAA is investigating and has not given a timeline for the fleet’s return to service.

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