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Airlines are still rebooking frustrated passengers stranded by this weekend’s nor’easter, but already estimates are rolling in about how much the storm will cost the industry: Up to $150 million, according to USA Today.
Upwards of 6,000 flights were cancelled altogether, with some estimates putting the total closer to 7,000, displacing not only passengers but aircraft and crew. “Repositioning and recovery from a major operational disruption is very expensive,” airline analyst Bob Harrell told USA Today, “and it’s very inefficient. It’s like starting up an airline that got shut down by a strike. They’re still cleaning up. They’re trying to rebook people. They’ve got to get their pilots back in position.”
Air Transport Association spokesman Dan Castelveter says rebooking stranded flyers could take the rest of the week. “They will be re-accommodating people three, four, five days down the road, given the fact we’re in the buildup to the end of the winter holiday period,” he told USA Today.
One bit of good news from this whole mess is the forecast: Trending warmer through the end of the week, with increasing sunshine. This will help beleaguered airports in their struggle to clear runways and tarmacs, and allow more planes to take off and land.
In the meantime, travelers with bookings today and tomorrow should contact their airline, many of which are still offering change fee waivers. A list of change fee policies for major airlines can be found here.