NEW YORK (AP) — Hurricane Sandy grounded thousands of flights in the U.S. northeast Monday and upended travel plans across the globe, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe. The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region
for both domestic and international flights.
Major carriers such as American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta planned to cancel all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation's busiest airspace. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 7,500 flights had been canceled for Sunday and Monday. Both Philadelphia International Airport and Newark International Airport, a hub for United Airlines, each had more than 1,200 cancellations for the two days.
Delays rippled across the U.S., affecting travelers in cities such as San Francisco to Chicago, and disruptions spread to Europe and Asia, where airlines canceled or delayed flights to New York and Washington from cities that are major travel hubs including London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Travelers such as businessman Alan Shrem, who was trying to return home to Boca Raton, Florida after attending trade fairs in Hong Kong and China's Guangzhou, were facing long waits for a new flight.
Shrem said he was "edgy" and "exasperated" after learning his Monday morning Cathay Pacific flight to JFK was canceled.
He learned he could be stuck in Hong Kong for nearly a week because the next available seat was Nov. 4. Cathay ticketing counter staff at the airport put him on a waiting list for seats that could become available earlier, but he didn't hold out much hope.
"I don't know what number I am, I could be 300. They don't even tell you. They just say: Yeah, it's a pretty big waiting list," said Shrem, throwing up his hands.