If you’re planning on traveling to the Northeast Tuesday, don’t count on getting there on schedule.
Airlines by late afternoon Monday had already canceled 16 non-stop flights from Sea-Tac to the major cities of the Northeast, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. for Tuesday travel.
More flights could be canceled if damage from Hurricane Sandy proves to be more pervasive than predicted.
SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines has canceled eight flights to and from Newark, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. but the airline is waiting to see whether it will be forced to cancel more. Other flights may be delayed because crews aren’t positioned to fly the aircraft back to Seattle.
Alaska spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said the airline believes the storm itself may have passed through the area by the time flights are scheduled to arrive in those three cities Tuesday, but it is concerned about the ability of workers to get to the airport to service planes on the ground and to check in passengers.
The airline is not canceling its Boston flights Tuesday unless the storm proves more viral than forecast there.
Nationwide, FlightAware.com is reporting 5,153 flights have been canceled to East Coast cities on Tuesday with more possible as time goes on.
US Airways has erased all flights from its schedules to and from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston and Newark Tuesday.
The US Airways hub in Philadelphia will suffer the most canceled flights Tuesday, 470, with New York’s LaGuardia seeing 432 cancellations. Washington’s Reagan National Airport will have 336 canceled flights while New York’s JFK will have 336 cancellations. Washington, D.C. other airport, Dulles, will have 247 flights canceled.
At Sea-Tac Airport, the flight changes have caused little disruption, said airport spokesman Perry Cooper.
Unlike the big hub airports in the nation’s midsection such as Chicago’s O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth, Sea-Tac doesn’t host much connecting traffic, so most travelers who were scheduled to travel to the East early this week can simply stay home until flights resume rather than be marooned at the airport.
Alaska and other airlines have adopted hurricane policies allowing travelers, even those with “non-refundable” tickets to get refunds for canceled flights or to change them for later flights without paying a change fee.