Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 7:06 pm

Delta cancels 350 flights due to winter storm

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UPDATE:Delta airline has cancelled about 350 flights due to winter storm.

Delta has taken the following actions to minimize the storm’s impact on flights and customers. Safety is the airline’s top value.

  • Canceled about 350 flights scheduled for Friday night and Saturday to minimize impact on operations in its Atlanta hub – the world’s busiest – and allow customers to change plans accordingly. Customers should check Delta.com or the Fly Delta Mobile App for up-to-the-minute details on individual flights.
  • Offered to waive change fees for customers whose travel plans are likely to be affected by the storm. More than a dozen markets in the Southeastern U.S. qualify, from Alabama to Virginia. To see if flights in a particular market are eligible, go to this page on Delta.com.
  • For safety reasons, temporarily embargoed unaccompanied minors from traveling on a connecting flight through Atlanta today or Saturday. Unaccompanied minors with a direct flight to or from Atlanta may travel.
  • Also for safety reasons, temporarily embargoed customers traveling on active military order from traveling with pets as checked baggage on a connecting flight through Atlanta Friday through Sunday. These pets with a direct flight to or from Atlanta may travel.
  • Added staffing to Atlanta and Southeastern de-icing, Customer Care and Airport Customer Service teams to keep operations running smoothly and assist customers who need to be re-accommodated.

EARLIER STORY:

NEW YORK: Ahead of a winter storm expected to bring up to 4 inches of snowfall to the Atlanta Airport, Delta airline has pre-emptively cancelled about 350 mainline and Delta Connection flights scheduled between Friday evening and Saturday in an effort to minimize the storm’s effect on operations at the world’s busiest hub. Such pre-emptive cancellations help accommodate for additional time needed for de-icing and for takeoff rates that slow in a winter storm.

Additional cancellations are possible as Delta’ meteorologists work to pinpoint the exact timing and precipitation type as the storm approaches.

Those meteorologists working into the overnight hours Thursday night saw growing concurrence among the three major weather forecasting models—the Global Forecast System produced by the National Weather Service, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the North American Mesoscale.

Models indicated a slight shift in the forecast with sleet arriving in the afternoon, then transitioning to a sleet and snow mix in the evening, shifting to all snow around midnight.

What’s prompting this forecast change? A weather phenomenon called a temperature inversion where, in this case, a roughly 3,000-foot layer of above-freezing airspace is sandwiched between two layers of below-freezing atmosphere will cause snow from higher altitudes to melt in the warmer layer, then refreeze as sleet before it reaches the ground. That warmer layer, meteorologists say, is hovering between 4,000 feet and 7,000 feet and prompted by a strong and relatively warm southwest wind in that layer.

The inclement weather is expected to roll out of Atlanta and push toward the Carolinas around 8 a.m. ET Saturday.

Regardless of the type of frozen precipitation, Delta’s de-ice teams will be out in full force with hundreds of trained deicers at the ready to keep Delta’s planes flying safely.

Delta on Thursday afternoon issued a winter weather waiver and travel advisory allowing customers the ability to adjust their travel plans around the storm. As always, customers are encouraged to check Delta.com or the Fly Delta Mobile App for up-to-the-minute flight status.

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