Storms at DFW airport caused hundreds of flight cancellations

Storms at DFW airport caused hundreds of flight cancellations
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(CNN)- Severe thunderstorms around Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday caused 100 American Airlines flight diversions and led to hundreds of cancellations that extended into Thursday’s time.

More than 300 American Airlines flights had been canceled as of noon Thursday, or 9% of their schedule, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. A total of about 650 US flights had been canceled as of noon ET.

On Wednesday, American canceled nearly 370 flights. A total of more than 1,200 US flights were canceled Wednesday, data from FlightAware shows.

DFW Airport is the largest hub for American Airlines.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines recorded about 250 cancellations on Wednesday, according to FlightAware. Southwest had canceled about 100 flights Thursday as of noon ET.

Taken by surprise by the second line of storms

According to American COO David Seymour, the airline prepared for thunderstorms in the forecast south of the airport on Wednesday afternoon. But another wave came as a surprise.

“Those storms then regenerated and created an entirely new and unexpected line of storms north of the airport. This unexpected storm activity prevented all arrivals in DFW for a three-hour period,” Seymour said in a staff memo shared with CNN Travel. .

One hundred AA flights were diverted and the airline proactively canceled all remaining flights to and from DFW on Wednesday.

“DFW Airport had gone 67 days without measurable rain, the second longest streak on record; weather like this can wreak havoc on our operation. This was the worst storm we’ve seen in DFW this summer, and to make matters worse, there was no indication that it was on its way,” Seymour said.

He thanked American Airlines staff for their efforts to recover from the weather disruption, noting that cancellations have a “huge impact on our customers.”

“Cancelling flights is a last resort,” Seymour said in the memo to staff. “But doing it early, even with a small window, gives customers the best opportunity to adjust their plans and avoid last-minute hassles at the airport.”

The DFW airport said Thursday that it has resumed normal operations.

A summer of flying headaches

Severe summer weather has compounded other operational challenges, including staffing at airlines and airports.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been working to address air travel disruptions as pandemic-shattered demand has returned with a vengeance.

This past weekend was plagued by delays and cancellations, with Friday being the worst day for cancellations since mid-June.

The Transportation Department last week proposed a rule that would expand protections for travelers seeking refunds, and the secretary invited the public to weigh the ruler and to make complaints when the airlines do not respond.

The proposed rule would more clearly define cases where flights are significantly modified or canceled to provide a clearer path to refunds, as well as create greater consumer protection related to the pandemic.

Featured Image: American Airlines planes stand at the passenger gates at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in October 2020. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)MOREHIDE

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