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2,400 Flights Cancelled Ahead Of Hurricane Irene

Irene is already causing travel headaches: Airlines have cancelled 2,400 flights so far. As it works up its way through the East Coast of the United States, Bloomberg reports, it is forecast to move through busiest airspace in the country.

That means: Delta has cancelled 1,300 flights; Jet Blue will drop 75 percent of its weekend trips; American Airlines is planning to scrap 265 flights.

Bloomberg adds:

"You're affecting all the major airports on the northeastern seaboard," said David Swierenga, a former chief economist at the Air Transport Association trade group who now runs consultant AeroEcon in Round Rock, Texas. "The number of flights that they have at those airports per day is very high. I expect this will be a major disruption."


The industry's preparations will include relocating planes out of harm's way, a step that minimizes damage while adding to the complexity of resuming normal schedules after a storm.

"They'll be doing a lot of scattering and scrambling," said Robert W. Mann, a former American Airlines executive who owns consultant R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York. "That usually means flying the last trip out before the arrival of the storm and not flying in until airfield conditions are able to support it."

The Los Angeles Times reports that American Airlines expects Sunday to be the worst day and the paper adds that many airlines, including Southwest, Delta, United, American and Jet Blue are waiving fees associated with changing reservations.

Amtrak has also suspended service to locations south of Washington, D.C. through the weekend. It's probably a safe bet to assume that as the storm comes ashore, they'll announce cancellations in the Northeast.

Is there any good news? Well, USA Today tries to cheer us up with news that the hurricane and the bad economy might mean deals on Labor Day destinations.

Update at 6:15 p.m. ET. Amtrak Cancels More Service:

From the AP:

U.S. passenger rail operator Amtrak will start canceling trains on its busy Northeast routes on Saturday and shut down that part of the system entirely on Sunday due to Hurricane Irene.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.