US airports already record two-thirds of flight cancellations worldwide.
Of the 4,347 canceled worldwide as of this afternoon, 2,790 had US terminals as their origin or destination.
In addition to a combination of wind and snow, the spread of the corona virus is primarily targeting United States airports, where two-thirds of flights worldwide have already been canceled this Monday.
Of the 4,347 canceled worldwide at 2:00 p.m. (North American East Coast time), 2,790 had as origin or destination American airports, highlighting Ronald Reagan in Washington - which today suffers a snowstorm -, where 81 % of takeoffs and 71% of landings were canceled.
It is followed by Baltimore, New York, La Guardia, Denver and Dallas airports. In Washington, a portal specializing in air traffic surveillance has already registered about 5,400 cancellations, according to FlightAware. At American airports.
Last week, the most affected airports were Asia, China, and Indonesia. Chinese domestic flights were also the most affected by cancellations directly linked to the coronavirus.
However, since the middle of last week, when a winter storm began that hit the United States' northwest coast and then moved to the northeast, the trail of cancellations no longer has Asia as the protagonist.
In fact, of the ten airlines most affected by cancellations, only one is Asian (China Eastern). All the others are American, including the largest (American, United, Delta) and regional or low-cost lines.
The Delta company has already been issuing alerts and warnings for five days that bad weather in one region or another of the country is disturbing its plane's traffic and offering passengers to change their tickets before January 7 without a surcharge.
For its part, United has offered its pilots to triple their salary for much of January to try to minimize cancellations, a measure also copied by regional lines such as Alaska and Spirit.
A winter storm is expected to bring up to 25 centimeters (10 inches) of snow to the District of Columbia, northern Virginia, and central Maryland.
"It was absolute chaos," said Natasha Enos. She spent Saturday night and Sunday morning sleeplessly at Denver International Airport during what was supposed to be a short layover from Washington to San Francisco.
Enos, who was flying Frontier Airlines, didn't learn that his connecting flight home to California was canceled until he had already landed in Denver. After that, it was difficult to find alternative flights and navigate between stranded and confused travelers amid concerns about the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
"There were a lot of people in a tiny space, and not everyone wore a mask, " said the 28-year-old financial analyst. "There were many exhausted children, and some families were very stressed."
In Michigan, the authority that manages Detroit International Airport said crews worked 24 hours a day to remove snow and maintain the airfield. The Atlanta Airport Authority advised travelers to arrive earlier than usual due to high passenger volumes, potential weather issues, and a shortage of staff caused by the pandemic that could lengthen lines at security gates.
Due to staff shortages, Hawaiian Airlines said it had to cancel several inter-island and cross-Pacific flights.
And despite all these disturbances, airline stocks have registered substantial rises on the New York Stock Exchange, given the prospects of a recovery in tourism and air traffic once the current wave of covid-19 has been overcome.