Delta Air Lines, American, United, Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways said they would waive date-change fees for travelers affected by the severe weather. Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t have date-change fees, said it wouldn’t charge travelers booked in and out of more than two dozen U.S. airports the fare difference to fly at a later date due to the extreme weather. Southwest canceled 675 flights on Wednesday, 16 percent of its daily operation, according to Flightaware.com.
While aircraft can take generally take off in low temperatures, the bitter cold limits how long ground workers can remain loading baggage or servicing aircraft.
Delta, which operates hubs in Minneapolis and Detroit, is preparing for the frigid conditions by increasing staffing of ground workers more employees can take more frequent breaks indoors, as well as moving some aircraft into heated hangars overnight, said spokesman Michael Thomas.
The cold follows strong winter storms that brought snow and heavy rain across a broad swath of the U.S. Some 300 flights in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta’s home hub and the world’s busiest airport, were canceled on Tuesday.