Frigid temperatures grounding flights, stranding passengers

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Associated Press

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 12:03 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 1:01 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — The deep freeze that's spreading across much of the country is causing major disruptions for air travel.

More than 3,700 flights — about one out of every 10 domestic departures — were canceled by late Monday afternoon, the bulk of them in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston.

With wind chills as low as 45 below zero at some airports, workers could only remain exposed on the ramp for a few minutes. That made loading and unloading luggage a challenge.

American Airlines said temperatures have been so cold at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport that fuel and de-icing liquids are actually freezing. United Airlines says its fuel is pumping slower than normal in Chicago.

JetBlue Airways stopped all scheduled flights to and from New York and Boston on Monday. Southwest ground to a halt in Chicago, but by Monday evening, the airline said "a trickle" of flights had resumed.

In recent years, airlines have cut the number of flights to ensure most planes depart full. While that's helping the airlines' finances, it leaves very few empty seats to rebook stranded travelers, and sometimes, it can take days to get everybody to their destinations.

%@AP Links

196-a-14-(Scott Mayerowitz (MAY'-ur-witz), AP airlines writer)-"on other flights"-AP Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz reports airlines are allowing passengers to change their flights without having to pay any of the normal change fees. (6 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *196 (01/06/14)££ 00:14 "on other flights"

195-a-22-(Scott Mayerowitz (MAY'-ur-witz), AP airlines writer)-"do their jobs"-AP Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz reports that the extreme cold is making it hard for airlines to get, or keep, their operations going. (6 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *195 (01/06/14)££ 00:22 "do their jobs"

194-a-16-(Scott Mayerowitz (MAY'-ur-witz), AP airlines writer)-"challenging 72 hours"-AP Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz reports about 3,000 flights across the nation have been canceled so far today due to the extreme cold. (6 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *194 (01/06/14)££ 00:16 "challenging 72 hours"

APPHOTO MACK108: A traveler holds his forehead while waiting to rebook a cancelled JetBlue flight, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Boston. JetBlue announced that they would halt operations in Boston, New York and New Jersey later in the afternoon, to rest their crews and give it time to service aircraft, due to flight delays and cancellations. Heavy rains in the East, and sub-zero temperatures in the Midwest, threw airlines and travel plans into havoc. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (6 Jan 2014)

<<APPHOTO MACK108 (01/06/14)££

APPHOTO MACK109: A JetBlue airplane taxis to park at a gate at Logan Airport, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Boston. JetBlue announced that they would halt operations in Boston, New York and New Jersey later in the afternoon, to rest their crews and give it time to service aircraft, due to flight delays and cancellations. Heavy rains in the East, and sub-zero temperatures in the Midwest, threw airlines and travel plans into havoc. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (6 Jan 2014)

<<APPHOTO MACK109 (01/06/14)££

APPHOTO MACK101: Eli Lopez, of New Bedford, Mass., rests his feet on his luggage while taking a nap after his flight to Puerto Rico was canceled, at Logan International Airport, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Boston. Heavy rains in the East, and sub-zero temperatures in the Midwest, created havoc for airlines and travel plans. Lopez said he was rebooked on a flight Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (6 Jan 2014)

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APPHOTO MACK102: A man looks at a flight departure board filled with cancellations and delays at Logan Airport, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Boston. Heavy rains in the East, and sub-zero temperatures in the Midwest, threw airlines and travel plans into havoc. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (6 Jan 2014)

<<APPHOTO MACK102 (01/06/14)££

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