Almost all transatlantic flights from the UK to New York, Boston and Philadelphia have been cancelled today because of Winter Storm Stella, the severe snowstorm predicted in the north-east US.
British Airways has cancelled all its flights to the two main New York airports, JFK and Newark, as well as Boston and Philadelphia. BA hopes an early-morning Boston-Heathrow flight will operate, but all other eastbound services have been grounded.
The airline says: “We are sorry for the disruption to your travel plans and are doing all we can to minimise the effect the weather forecast will have on our US operations.
“There will still be some flights to/from Washington and Baltimore but there will be some revisions to our schedules.”
BA intends to use larger aircraft where possible on Wednesday to carry passengers whose flights are cancelled today. Passengers booked on Wednesday who do not want to accept the risk of possible disruption can move their flight to Thursday or Friday, if space is available.
“This policy also applies to American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair flights on these routes,” says BA.
Virgin Atlantic has axed its round-trips from Heathrow to New York, Boston and Washington DC. But its US partner, Delta, hopes to dispatch two Heathrow-JFK flights.
Delta said in a statement that it expects to resume operations from New York with a reduced Tuesday night schedule: “Flights should return to relative normalcy Wednesday, pending facility evaluations and resumption of mass transit services in New York.”
Virgin is allowing anyone with booking to, from or through Boston, New York and Washington up to Friday to rebook without penalty for the following week.
United and American Airlines are offering date changes to passengers with imminent bookings to and from the north-east US.
The storm highlights the complicated issue of passenger rights. Travellers with BA, Virgin and other EU airlines who are stranded by the storm in the US are entitled to hotels and meals until the carrier can get them home. Those booked on US airlines must fend for themselves.