Winter Storm Gia Hampers Travel With Road Closures, Flight Delays

plane, snow, airline

Update: January 14, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Winter Storm Gia forced approximately 1,500 flight cancellations across the U.S. over the weekend but those issues are beginning to clear up Monday morning, with flight-tracking website FlightAware.com reporting just 170 cancellations and 450 delays within, into or out of the U.S. as of 9:30 a.m. ET.

A majority of those headaches are being felt in the Washington, D.C. area, with Reagan National and Washington Dulles airports combining for 82 flight cancellations.


Winter Storm Gia is causing travel headaches from the Midwest to the Northeast U.S. this weekend, dumping snow and ice on roads and runways.

Gia walloped parts of the Midwest Friday and Saturday, causing nearly 500 car accidents in Missouri alone, according to Weather.com. The storm even caused an American Airlines flight to slide off of the runway at Missouri’s Columbia Regional Airport Friday. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

A Delta Air Lines flight also skidded off the runway at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Sunday. WKRC reported the plane was taxiing between locations within the airport boundaries when it slid off the pavement. There were no injuries.

According to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, more than 3,300 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were delayed Saturday while 460-plus were canceled. A majority of those disruptions occurred at major Midwest airports, including Chicago’s O’Hare and St. Louis Lambert.

As of 10 a.m. ET Sunday, more than 540 flights within, into or out of the U.S. have been canceled, with cancellations and delays stacking up at Reagan National, Washington Dulles and Baltimore-Washington, among other major airports across the Northeast.

Major airlines waived change fees in anticipation of Gia but the details vary from carrier to carrier so travelers are advised to check with their airline and confirm their flight status before arriving at the airport.

The storm is currently bearing down on the mid-Atlantic and expected to last through the weekend with flight delays and cancellations likely to linger into Monday as a result.

25 Ways to Save Money on a Tropical Cruise This Winter

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Packed suitcase ready for travel

Save Big on Your Warm Weather Escape

If you’re tired of the cold and snow and craving a change of scenery, a warm weather cruise to the Caribbean or Mexico may be exactly what you need. These 25 tips can help you score the tropical getaway you deserve without wrecking your travel budget.

The Best Winter Road Trips

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California

Winter may not seem like the ideal time to undertake a road trip but some of the summer’s most popular routes are even more beautiful in the wintertime.

Warm up on Florida’s beaches or cozy up in a cabin in Taos and, in the meantime, enjoy the drive along the way.

Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys

Florida Keys

A 113-mile road trip along Route 1 in the Florida Keys is an ideal way to escape the cold bite of winter. Drivers can explore beautiful beaches, art galleries and old Victorian homes.

The route is every bit as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer and travelers have the added bonus of more affordable accommodation options and fewer fellow vacationers.

Pacific Coast Highway

Highway 1 has recently reopened in full, and road trippers can once again enjoy unencumbered roads from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The drive can be done in one weekend, but travelers can easily take up to a week to enjoy quaint seaside towns, stunning scenery and a variety of activities such as wine tasting, hiking, beachcombing and more.

Arches National Park in winter

Arches National Park

Arches is stunning at any time of year, but there’s something about its precarious arches blanketed in snow that makes the otherworldly landscapes appear to be even more out of this world. Road trippers will find few other travelers joining them on the trails to explore Delicate Arch and Balanced Rock, and they can hole up in cozy accommodations in nearby Moab, Utah.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Travel through the storybook landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a winter road trip from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina. Following Interstate 40 and U.S. 321, travelers can enjoy stunning vistas, the aerial tramway and reasonable rates on accommodations in a winter wonderland.

Taos Valley, New Mexico

The High Road to Taos

The high desert comes alive in the winter, and taking the High Road to Taos from Santa Fe provides road trippers with awe-inspiring scenery and remote Mountain villages. Be sure to stop at the Ranchos de Taos, a traditional agricultural community, as well as the San Francisco de Asis Church.

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Weekend special rates are also available for rentals starting on Fridays and through Mondays at participating neighborhood locations.

Enterprises’ extensive network of car rental locations and it’s pick-up service means that it’s a seamless experience for those renting a car from almost anywhere in the country.

Latest Updates on Winter Storms Impacting Travel in Midwest, Northeast

winter, snow, plane

Update: January 22, 2019 at 8:20 a.m. ET

The impact of Winter Storm Harper and the cold front that followed is still being felt, with almost 250 flights being canceled Tuesday morning and another 420-plus flights being delayed, according to FlightAware.com.

Airports in Chicago and Boston are feeling the most significant impact to flight operations.


Update: January 21, 2019 at 3:55 p.m. ET

The effects of Winter Storm Harper are still being felt in the travel industry Monday, as over 588 flights within, into or out of the country have been canceled and another 3,500-plus were delayed, according to FlightAware.com as of 3:40 p.m. ET.

Only 24 flights have been canceled for Tuesday.

While airports are returning to full operations following Harper, Winter Storm Indra will be the next major cross-country storm, hitting the mountain West, Plains, Midwest and Northeast with heavy snow and ice this week.


Update: January 21, 2019 at 8:05 a.m. ET

Travelers taking to the skies Monday need to be on notice as the tail end of the impact from Winter Storm Harper continues to be felt in the Northeast United States.

According to FlightAware.com as of 8 a.m. ET, over 250 flights within, into or out of the U.S. were canceled Monday and another nearly 400 were delayed, mainly at airports in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

In total, the Northeast dealt with thousands of flight cancelations through the weekend in addition to the hundreds of reported crashes attributed to the storm. At least six people have died in accidents.


Update: January 20, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. ET

As of 11:05 a.m. ET, 4,280 flights have been canceled due to Winter Storm Harper. On Sunday alone, 1,455 flights had been canceled and 990 were delayed.

Travel disruptions will continue through Monday.


Update: January 20, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. ET

As of today, 4,100 flights have been canceled since Friday, with 1,350 of those flights canceled on Sunday alone. Another 564 flights have been delayed today.

Winter Storm Harper will continue to barrage travelers on Monday, as more than 110 flights have already been canceled, which includes 46 JetBlue flights and at least 58 American and American Eagle flights.

Overall, Boston Logan International Airport has been hit the hardest this weekend, though so far it looks like the most cancellations on Monday are centered on Washington Reagan National Airport, followed by Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and JFK in New York City.


Update: January 19, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. ET

As of this morning, 2,400 flights scheduled between Friday and Monday have been canceled due to Winter Storm Harper.

On Saturday, more than 1,135 flights were canceled and 537 were delayed nationwide. Airlines canceled 785 flights for Sunday and more than 36 flights have been canceled for Monday.

Chicago O’Hare airport had a combined 450 departures and arrivals canceled, which accounted for about 20 percent of their schedule. Boston canceled half of their scheduled flights on Sunday which comes out to about 400 flights.

New York’s JFK airport canceled 100 arrivals and departures for Sunday, with most being JetBlue flights.


Update: January 18, 2019 at 3:20 p.m. ET

Nearly 2,700 flights within, into or out of the U.S. have been delayed and 400 more have been canceled as of Friday afternoon, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com, as Winter Storm Harper continues to push east, bringing snow, ice and heavy winds to parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

As of 3:20 p.m. ET Friday, Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway Airports had experienced a combined 270 cancellations and 232 delays. Airports in Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City and New York were also being impacted.

Meanwhile, Amtrak announced it will operate modified service this weekend as a result of the severe winter weather. Amtrak said customers should check their train status on Amtrak.com or the company’s smartphone apps prior to departing and allow extra time to get to their station.

“Customers with reservations on trains that are being modified will typically be accommodated on trains with similar departure times or another day,” the passenger railroad service said. “Amtrak will gladly waive additional charges for customers looking to change their reservation during the modified schedule by calling our reservation center at 800-USA-RAIL.”


Travelers hitting the road this weekend should be keeping a close eye on two winter storms making their way across the United States as delays and cancellations are expected.

According to AccuWeather.com, the first storm is expected to impact travel in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia starting Friday and continuing through Saturday morning.

Forecasters believe the storm will produce enough snow to make roads slippery and may cause some flight delays and cancellations Friday.

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On the other hand, Winter Storm Harper is expected to bring heavy snow across Illinois and other northern portions of the Midwest Friday before hitting Pennsylvania, New York and northern New England.

According to Weather.com, the storm system is expected to turn into an all-out blizzard in some areas, with as much as 12 inches in Albany, Boston and Pittsburgh. Areas of northern New England could see as much as 24 inches through Sunday.

Both storms are expected to cause road closures and flight cancellations in impacted areas.

As a result, several major airlines have started issuing travel waivers for customers flying to or from destinations expecting heavy snow. Many of the carriers are also waiving change fees for impacted flights.

American Airlines announced it is waiving change fees and fare differences for travel on January 19 and 20 to and from the Northeast, eastern Canada and 32 total airports. Passengers must complete their trip by January 23 to be eligible for the travel waivers.

Delta Air Lines is also getting ahead of the storms by issuing travel warnings for the Central Plains, Ohio Valley, Midwest and Northeast for the coming days. In total, travelers making their way through over 50 airports in impacted regions will be eligible to have their change fees waived. When rescheduled travel occurs beyond January 23, the change fee will not be waived.

As for United Airlines, the carrier is waiving change fees for flights in and out of more than 70 airports in the Midwest, central U.S. and Northeast between January 18 and 20. Passengers will have to rebook their trip by January 23 if they don’t want to pay a change fee or difference in fares.

Other carriers are also expected to issue travel waivers Friday. As always, airlines are asking travelers to call ahead to make sure their flights are not delayed or canceled before heading to the airport.