SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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February 8, 2013

Flights canceled, Amtrak service suspended

The big storm heading for the Northeast is already disrupting travel.

United Airlines said it has canceled 900 flights for today in advance of the storm. Delta Air Lines Inc. canceled 740.

New England could get smacked with up to 2 feet of snow today, while New York City is under a blizzard warning for as much as a foot or more.

The airports with the most cancellations today are Newark Liberty, Boston’s Logan International and LaGuardia, in that order, according to airline tracking website FlightAware.

American Airlines canceled 50 flights yesterday and was scrapping 50 more today. A spokesman said more flights were likely to be canceled as the night goes on.

Yesterday, the biggest weather problems are in Chicago. O’Hare has seen 85 canceled departures.

Airlines issued so-called “weather waivers,” allowing passengers flying in the storm-affected areas to change their flight date without paying a change fee.

In recent years airlines have tried to get ahead of big storms by canceling flights in advance rather than crossing their fingers that they could operate in bad weather. Travelers can still face dayslong delays in getting home, but the advanced cancellations generally mean they get more notice and can wait out the storm at home or a hotel, rather than on a cot at the airport.

In addition reservation systems have been programmed to automatically rebook passengers when flights are canceled. And travelers now receive notifications by email, phone or text message.

On land, Amtrak says it’s suspending service in New York and New England before the major snow storm hits.

Beginning today, southbound service from Boston South Station will be suspended following the departures of a Northeast Regional train at 1:40 p.m. and Acela Express at 1:15 p.m.

Northbound service from New York’s Penn Station will be suspended at 12:30 p.m. and the Acela Express at 1:03 p.m.

Shuttle service between Springfield and New Haven, Conn., will be suspended at 10:30 a.m.

Vermonter service also is canceled in each direction between Springfield and St. Albans, Vt.

And Downeaster service is suspended from Brunswick, Maine, at 7:05 a.m. The last northbound departure from Boston North Station is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Connecting service between Albany, N.Y., and Boston to the Lakeshore Limited also is canceled.

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