“Feels like pretty normal travel for me,” said Caroline Neary, a Ph.D. student who was flying home for Christmas on Friday, from Houston to West Palm Beach, Fla., by way of Atlanta. “I was worried about the ripple effects from storms elsewhere, but I haven’t seen any cancellations or major delays in my trip.”
The wave of colder weather is expected to arrive in New York by Friday evening, preceded by gusty winds, and to reach Miami by Saturday morning, leaving many travelers bracing for the worst.
The weather disruptions are striking just as travel volume has been approaching prepandemic levels. In mid-December, AAA predicted that nearly 7.2 million Americans would fly between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, and that another 102 million would drive at least 50 miles for the holidays.
The expected surge in travel for the holiday season contributed to the stress, with travelers complaining on social media about long lines at airport check-in counters and delays on the tarmac. By late Friday morning, disruptions elsewhere in the country had begun to affect places that had been spared so far, including San Diego and Houston.
Though the East Coast was still awaiting the brunt of the storm, the headaches for travelers in the region had already begun by Friday morning. Logan Airport in Boston reported that 25 percent of its outbound flights were canceled, and La Guardia Airport was seeing one-third of departures scratched. In Buffalo, almost four-fifths of scheduled arrivals had been canceled.