Passengers wait for their flight at at LaGuardia airport, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 in New York. Tens of thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the Northeast buttoned up against the onslaught of a superstorm.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
NEW YORK — Hurricane Sandy grounded thousands of flights in the U.S. northeast today 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, United and Delta canceled 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 today and Tuesday, almost all related to the storm.
Delays rippled across the U.S., affecting travelers in cities such as San Francisco to Chicago. 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.
Air travel in the Northeast started getting complicated Sunday, when passengers were reporting multiple-hour waits at airline call centers.
International travelers would have to wait to get to the East Coast of the U.S. All flights from Paris to Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington — a total of 14 — were canceled. Air France has canceled four into JFK and two departures.
Frankfurt airport canceled 12 flights, with German carrier Lufthansa scrapping three to the Northeast and one out of Newark. British Airways had to cancel all its flights to and from New York, Newark, Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston and Philadelphia — a total of 20.
Eight flights out of Tokyo’s Narita International Airport to New York, Newark and Washington were canceled today.
Hong Kong’s Cathay canceled its two daily flights to New York for today and Tuesday and Air India said its daily flights to Newark and JFK had halted since Sunday.
South Korean flag carrier Korean Air delayed a flight scheduled to leave Incheon International Airport for JFK today by 22 hours. Asiana Airlines delayed its JFK flight from Seoul by 26 hours.