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'Frankenstorm' disrupts US-bound flights from Britain
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Oct 29, 2012


Travel chaos looms as US storm cancels flights
New York (AFP) Oct 28, 2012 - A day of transatlantic travel chaos loomed Sunday as airlines cancelled thousands of flights to and from airports up and down the US East Coast ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

Air France, British Airways, Virgin and other European airlines cancelled all flights into New York, Baltimore, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia on Monday, while US airlines called off thousands of domestic flights and diverted planes away from Sandy's path.

New York airports stayed open Sunday but the airport authority warned passengers there would be major disruption over the next two days.

According to the online aviation tracking service flightaware.com, more than 7,400 flights have already been cancelled because of the storm and worse was expected.

It said 1,240 domestic and international flights on Sunday were called off, with Newark airport in New York's New Jersey suburbs worst hit. A further 5,560 flights scheduled for Monday and 645 flights on Tuesday have also been cancelled.

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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