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Record flight cancellations this winter; storms, cost cuts, new regulations strand passengers

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

NEW YORK (AP) -- This winter's relentless storms have led to the highest number of flight cancellations in more than 25 years.

An Associated Press analysis of information provided by FlightAware finds that U.S. airlines have canceled more than 75,000 domestic flights since Dec. 1, including roughly 14,000 this week. That's more than 5 percent of the 1.35 million flights scheduled during that period.

But the winter storms aren't entirely to blame. Airlines are quicker to cancel flights rather than waiting for a break in the weather, in part because of new government regulations that increase the amount of rest pilots need and prohibit airlines from keeping passengers on the tarmac for three hours or more.

Making things worse, as airlines cut unprofitable flights and pack more passengers into planes, passengers whose flights are canceled are finding other planes too full to take them. That's left some waiting days for another flight.


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