Severe weather disrupts flights

Heavy snowstorms in the south of the United States caused mass cancellations to and from Atlanta, but have so far only slightly affected flights to and from Owen Roberts 
International Airport.

Cancellations included Delta Air Lines’ DL687, which was due to arrive at 1.16pm in Grand Cayman from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Monday and the return flight, DL352, which was originally scheduled to leave at 2.16pm 
the same day.

Anyone affected by the weather or the wintry conditions also anticipated in the northeast of the States from Tuesday to Thursday can make one-time changes to travel schedules without incurring reservation charges, Delta explained.

“Delta’s weather advisory encourages customers to consider postponing or re-routing their travel to avoid possible inconvenience from delays and cancellations caused by snow and ice.

“This advisory is in addition to a weather waiver in place since Friday for travel to, from or through Atlanta due to snow, ice and freezing rain,” the carrier said Monday. The airport was running at severely reduced capacity with a trickle of its usual 2,600 daily flights able to operate.

Across the states Delta Air Lines cancelled 1,450 flights, approximately 25 per cent of its original schedules. Around 500 flights were cancelled by Delta on Sunday because of the snow and ice. AirTran cancelled 300 of its flights at the airport also.

Knock-on effects

Knock-on effects and delays were felt across other airports.

Continental’s flight 592 from Houston to Cayman arrived 59 minutes late on Sunday, 9 January, with the return flight landing at Houston 43 minutes behind schedule as a result. The Monday service was running as normal at publication time.

Cayman Airways flights to and from New York, Washington and Tampa had not been affected by press time. American Airlines did not report any problems for services between Cayman and Miami on Monday.

General connections from Tampa to Charlotte and Atlanta on other carriers were subject to cancellations.

Despite cancellations at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to New York, Philadelphia and Boston on Sunday night, the US Airways service originating in Boston to Cayman via the North Carolina hub was still operational on Monday.

Sunday’s flight 821 had landed in Cayman 24 minutes late.

“We are trying hard to accommodate passengers. As soon as the airports reopen we will get back to a full schedule.

We appreciate our customers patience,” spokesman Jim Olson of the airline explained.

Charlotte-Douglas recently announced it had purchased 28 new de-icing trucks with the capability to douse planes in antifreeze and hot air.

However, these new trucks will not be operational until spring as operators are not yet trained in their use.

Storm watch

The National Weather Service of the United States issued a winter storm warning for parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama, with up to 8 inches of snow forecast to fall by Monday evening.

The winter storm warning remained in effect on Monday evening with further icy rain expected.

New Jersey, Delaware, Washington D.C. and New York City are under a winter storm watch with further cold weather, snow and icy conditions forecast for Tuesday, 12 January onward.

As this could affect flights in and out of Cayman, travellers were advised to check with their carrier by phone or online as to the latest status of flights.