A powerful winter storm that swept the East Coast yesterday, January 4, resulted in thousands of cancelled flights, leaving passengers stranded at U.S. airports across the country. High winds and snow caused JFK and LaGuardia airports to temporarily halt operations.
According to FlightAware, almost 8,000 flights within, into, or out of the United States were disrupted, with more than half of them accounting for flight cancellations. Due to the severity of the blizzard a number of flights to and from Europe were also affected.
Several transatlantic services have been cancelled by European air carriers such as Aer Lingus, Swiss International Air Lines, Norwegian, and Air France. The British flag carriers Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have also cancelled their U.S. departures from London.
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Airlines such as Norwegian and Alitalia issued travel warnings via Twitter, advising passengers to check their flight status before travelling: “Due to bad weather conditions in United States, flights from/to/via New York and Boston might be subject to schedule changes. Please check your flight status on alitalia.com before going to the airport.”.
Many airlines across various airports have issued change fee waivers, encouraging travellers to rebook their flights. Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight delay compensation company SKYCOP explains, “European Commission legislation No. 261 clearly defines the term ‘extraordinary circumstances’, which includes weather conditions not suitable for air travel. When it comes to extreme weather related cancellations and delays, airlines are exempt from liability to air passenger rights and disrupted flight compensations.”
“Every so often, however, airlines may declare weather conditions as the main cause for flight disruptions, even though it may not be true. If passengers are concerned with the validity of the answer from the airline, they can check if they are eligible for compensation on our website www.skycop.com“, adds Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight compensation company SKYCOP.