Thousands of travelers have found themselves stranded across the nation as airline staffing shortages and widespread storms have caused more than 2,400 flight cancellations and another 9,100 delays ahead of Easter weekend.
The disruptions come amid a sudden surge in passenger numbers due to dropping COVID-19 infection rates and loosening travel restrictions around the globe.
As of Saturday afternoon, 2,419 flights had been cancelled and another 9,103 delayed worldwide, according to flight tracking data from FlightAware, continuing a mid-week trend of major travel disruptions.
Many who had planned spring getaways have reported last-minute changes, with one traveller even alleging their flight was cancelled after they had boarded the plane. Others have complained of cancellations lasting multiple days, cutting their trips so short that they were forced to forgo their vacations altogether.
Unfortunately, travel experts allege disruption will likely continue into next weekend – which marks the oft-traveled-on Easter holiday – as an enormous, multi-faceted storm moves across the United States.
AccuWeather meteorologists predict the system could result in a five-day stretch of severe weather, producing blizzard conditions from the Rockies to the Great Plains and thunderstorms stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.
Industry analysts also predict that travel chaos will continue throughout the summer due to pandemic-fueled staffing shortages across every major air carrier, CNN Travel reported.
Thousands of travelers have found themselves stranded as more than 2,400 flights were canceled and another 9,100 delayed on Saturday. Travelers are pictured amid the chaos at JFK airport in New York City on Saturday
As of Saturday morning, 1,884 flights had been cancelled and another 4,191 delayed, according to flight tracking data from FlightAware
An enormous, multi-faceted storm traveling across the U.S. could result in a five-day stretch of severe weather, producing blizzard conditions from the Rockies to the Great Plains and thunderstorms stretching from the Gulf Coast to Great Lakes
The U.S. is bracing for more storms as cold air out West collides with ‘surging warmth and humid air’ in the Eastern states.
Northern California and a large portion of the Pacific Northwest are expected to be hit with mild impacts from the storm once it makes landfall Sunday night.
Areas of low-elevation will be hit with rain and showers, while the mountains could see several inches of snow.
Snow showers may occur in the mountains of Southern California from Monday to Tuesday, while San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are expected to see rain showers. Meteorologists predict that in some communities, the rainfall may turn gusty with thunder, lightning and even hail.
Rain and mountain snow in the Southwest is highly unlikely due to the long-term drought, but forecasters allege that gusty winds might increase the chances of dust storms and wildfires.
Travelers are pictured near the JetBlue ticketing counter at JFK airport on Saturday
Northern California and a large portion of the Pacific Northwest are expected to be hit with mild impacts from the storm once it makes landfall Sunday night. Area of low-elevation will be hit with rain and showers, while the mountains could see several inches of snow
The Rockies and norther Plains regions are expected to take the brunt of the storm system as it rolls through early this week. If the storm develops to its full potential, some areas will see wind gusts up to 50mph and near-zero visibility for hours
The Rockies and Northern Plains regions are expected to take the brunt of the storm system as it rolls through early this week.
Areas of higher elevation, including the Wasatch Range in Utah, are expecting heavy snowfall on Monday and Tuesday, while rain is likely to soak valleys in Nevada and Western Colorado.
As the system travels out of the Rockies and northeast toward the Great Plains, residents from Central Colorado and Wyoming and Southeastern Montana to portions of Western Nebraska, the Dakotas and parts of Minnesota are expected to see 1 to 3 feet of snow from Tuesday to Friday.
If the storm develops to its full potential, some areas will see wind gusts up to 50 mph and near-zero visibility for hours.
‘Blizzard conditions are likely to unfold as the storm gains strength, snow piles up and winds increase,’ AccuWeather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.
Blizzard conditions, which include high-velocity winds and massive snow drifts, will likely cause road closures and other travel delays.
Meteorologists note that Denver and Fargo are currently outside of the area of heaviest snowfall, but that a slight shift in the storm’s track could put either or both cities under a blizzard threat.
Thunderstorms extending from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes are expected from Tuesday to Thursday
However, forecasters note the clash of air masses across the midwest mid-week may cause highly-changeable weather conditions over relatively short distances
Meteorologists predict ‘numerous disruptions to travel and shipping efforts’ as well as ‘the potential for power outages as a result of rain, thunderstorms, wind and snow from the unfolding and strengthening storm’. Travelers are seen checking the flight status board at JFK airport on Saturday
A severe weather outbreak spanning from Monday to Friday is expected in the Central states, causing high winds, hail, flash-flooding and tornadoes.
Thunderstorms extending from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes are expected from Tuesday to Thursday.
However, forecasters note the clash of air masses across the Midwest mid-week may cause highly-changeable weather conditions over relatively short distances.
This means communities roughly 50 to 100 miles apart could experience differing conditions. For example, one might be placed under watches or warnings for severe thunderstorm and tornadoes, while the other might brace for winter storm and blizzard conditions.
Meteorologists say the powerful system might cause damage, such as downed trees, destruction to homes and power outages, as well as travel disruptions.
‘Numerous disruptions to travel and shipping efforts are likely with the potential for power outages as a result of rain, thunderstorms, wind and snow from the unfolding and strengthening storm next week over the middle of the nation,’ Buckingham said.
Ticket counters and kiosks saw full lines Saturday as passengers tried to navigate the chaotic JFK airport
A JetBlue airplane is pictured at JFK airport on Saturday. The airline reported 352 delays and 168 cancellations worldwide on Saturday afternoon
A traveler is seen sitting on the ground at JFK airport with his luggage on Saturday while talking on his cell phone
Meanwhile, travelers across the nation are already experiencing the impacts of flight disruptions and have taken to social media to air their frustrations.
‘Once, again, @AmericanAir…you have complicated travel with your delayed and canceled flights, forcing an expensive change with a different carrier to get where we’re going,’ wrote Houston-based journalist Tom Zizka. ‘You’ve done this 4 times in a row!’
Rose Velez-Smith, the VP of Integrated Talent Management at Pitney Bowes, said Delta ruined her family vacation by canceling their flights without any notification at all.
‘@Delta just ruined a family vacation!!! On our way to the airport and flight is canceled. No notification at all. Just found out by checking my APP. Disconnected twice and now NOT taking accountability for the cancelation fees we will incur from hotel!!,’ she wrote.
Travelers across the nation are already experiencing the impacts of flight disruptions and have taken to social media to air their frustrations
Los Angeles-based real estate agent Jasmine Goode also claimed that Delta cancelled her flight without any notice.
Another traveler, Twitter user @jarekushner, claims their flight was cancelled after passengers had already boarded the plane.
‘@SpiritAirlines is garbage canceled my flight while I was sitting on the plane. No replacement flight for 3 days laters,’ @jarekushner wrote. ‘No travel vouchers or food. Sad sad case and horrible airline. They couldn’t locate a pilot for 2 hours and then just canceled no notice.’
The airlines did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.