|Police make a final sweep of the subway at Times Square in New York on Sunday. (Reuters)
Oct 29: Flights of Air India and Jet Airways are among an estimated 10,000 US-bound services cancelled over the next two days because of Hurricane Sandy.
While Jet said it had cancelled its Newark flight (via Brussels), Air India said it had “indefinitely delayed” its planes on the sector. These included the Centre-run carrier’s AI 191 Mumbai-Newark and AI 101 Delhi-New York.
“Tonight’s (Monday) flights have been rescheduled to tomorrow 1am and may be delayed further if need be,” an Air India official said. Fliers have been informed and transit passengers have been provided hotel accommodation in Delhi, the spokesperson said.
Jet Airways cancelled its flights 9W227 and 9W228 today, a spokesperson said, adding that services scheduled over the next two days could also be affected. The private carrier has offered the passengers the option to change their plans without penalty.
“Guests booked on these delayed/scheduled change flights, can rebook into alternative flights with an allowance of one date/time change without penalty,” the Jet spokesperson said.
The earliest one can book on a confirmed non-stop Air India flight from Mumbai to New York is October 31.
In the US, major carriers such as American Airlines, United and Delta cancelled all flights into and out of New York. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 10,000 flights had been cancelled for today and tomorrow, almost all related to the storm.
About a quarter of all US flights travel in and out of New York each day. So cancellations here can dramatically impact travel in other cities.
Airports in the metropolitan New York City area are open, but air carriers are not operating.
The authorities in New York and New Jersey said today that travellers shouldn’t even try to go to Kennedy, Newark, LaGuardia and Stewart airports.
The turmoil upended travel plans across the globe, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe.
Businessman Alan Shrem was trying to return home to Boca Raton, Florida. His today’s Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to New York’s Kennedy airport was cancelled.
He learned he could be stuck in Hong Kong for nearly a week because the next available seat was November 4.
Shrem will have to fork out $400 a night to continue staying at a hotel. The airline won’t pay for accommodation for stranded passengers if delays are weather related.