Lingering snow and subfreezing temperatures mean that travel delays in the Northeast will extend through Wednesday, even if the storm wasn't as bad as expected.
Airlines have already cancelled more than 500 flights for Wednesday, according to FlightAware.com. But that's a reprieve after 7,600 U.S. flights got scrubbed and another 3,200 ran late on Monday and Tuesday, mostly in the blizzard's path.
New York was spared the worst of the blizzard, but Boston was hit with more than two feet of snow. By Tuesday afternoon, airlines had already canceled one-fourth of the flights that would normally depart from Boston's Logan Airport on Wednesday, and subfreezing temperatures will mean tedious de-icing of the planes that do take off.
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United Airlines canceled all flights through Wednesday in Boston and other New England airports, said spokeswoman Mary Ryan. United operates a hub with many connecting flights at Newark airport in New Jersey. Ryan said the airline planned limited arrivals there Tuesday night with a more complete schedule on Wednesday.
JetBlue Airways had already canceled 190 flights for Wednesday, mostly in Boston and elsewhere in New England. Spokesman Morgan Johnston said the airline would wait for roads and mass transit to be safe enough for customers and employees to reach the airports. JetBlue planned to operate a few flights Tuesday night at New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia airports and in Newark.
Delta Air Lines expected to fly a limited number of flights into Kennedy and LaGuardia on Tuesday night, then resume service throughout the Northeast beginning Wednesday morning, according to spokesman Morgan Durrant. He said the airline expected to run about 80 percent of its usual schedule on Wednesday.
American Airlines resumed limited service to Philadelphia on Tuesday, with full service expected Wednesday morning, said spokeswoman Andrea Huguely. Flights at New York-area airports will resume Wednesday morning, and limited Boston flights will begin around noon with a full schedule by 3 p.m. local time, Huguely said.
Analysts have begun trying to put a price tag on the winter storm. Aviation data provider masFlight.com estimated that this week's cancelations had cost airlines about $10 million. The group's president, Tulinda Larsen, said that wouldn't be a big drag on the airlines' financial performance.
Thanks to cheaper fuel and steady travel demand, U.S. airlines are doing very well. On Tuesday, the parent company of American Airlines and US Airways reported that it earned $597 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.