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London (AFP) Oct 29, 2012
Thousands of Britons planning to travel to the United States over the school holidays this week faced disruption Monday after Hurricance Sandy forced the cancellation of flights to the US east coast.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were among the carriers to scrap all flights to cities including New York and Washington because of fears over what has been dubbed "Frankenstorm".
Hurricane Sandy has prompted US authorities to lock down much of the eastern United States in anticipation of storm surges, driving rain and strong winds.
British Airways said in a statement it has cancelled all flights for the day to and from the east coast, which amounts to around 20 return flights.
"This includes New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia (with the exception of the BA238 from Boston)," it said.
"We understand that customers may be disappointed. However, their safety is our highest priority."
BA has its global hub at London Heathrow, the world's busiest international passenger airport.
Virgin Atlantic said it cancelled all flights on Monday to and from New York and Washington, as well as one to Boston.
"Our flights to America had been very busy at the beginning of this week due to the half-term school holiday. It's very unfortunate that this major storm has come when it has," a spokeswoman said.
Other airlines flying similar routes are also affected.
Airports were advising all travellers hoping to travel to the region to check the status of their flight with their airline before leaving home.
According to the online aviation tracking service flightaware.com, around 7,000 flights have already been cancelled due to the storm.
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