Metro Airport cancels Northeast flights amid storm

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

The massive storm slamming the East Coast grounded more than 150 flights out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Monday, with more cancellations expected Tuesday.

Utility crews from Michigan also are heading to the Northeast to help in dealing with expected power outages expected from the major storm.

Some local travel agents who have customers traveling or connecting to other flights east said their clients had flights canceled until later in the week to airports in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

"Luckily most of our travelers are booked on Delta and Delta has extended its travel waiver, meaning their flights can be rebooked without a penalty," said Ann Cunningham, the owner of Adams Lincoln and Woodward Travel Services in Birmingham. "Typically the penalty on a nonrefundable ticket is $200."

Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Delta, which is Metro Airport's largest hub, said 730 flights were canceled across the country on Monday and at least 960 are expected to be canceled Tuesday with no flights in or out of Boston's Logan International Airport and "very limited flying" into both LaGuardia and JFK airports in New York.

"I think they are more than generous. In the past so many airlines have said weather is an act of God and we can't be held responsible," Cunningham said. "The flight delays and cancellations that we seem to be encountering are with Delta and they are being handled very generously."

"My advice to travelers is to check the status of their flight on their airline's home page before heading to the airport," Metro Airport spokesman Michael Conway said. "It is much more quick and efficient than trying the 800 numbers."

Jeff Eaton, co-owner of Seven Seas Travel agency in Eastpointe, said although he doesn't have any clients who have been affected by the current storm he knows it isn't a pleasant experience.

"Typically, the challenge is delays," Eaton said. "You just push everything back. The problem that we have that becomes more complicated is, I think, the cruise line industry. Fortunately there aren't too many sailings that go out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But literally with the snowball effect, there will be more problems as we get more towards the end of the week."

More than 50 Consumers Energy employees from Michigan are mobilizing for the storm. Another 100 contractors also are expected to be made available.

The workers will travel first to New York state, but will go where needed. A spokesman for the unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. said they could be in the Northeast a week or more.

Metro Detroit's weather this week is expected to remain cold with 1-3 inches of possible snow forecast for Thursday.

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Associated Press contributed.

Walmart Supercenter cart pusher Richard Merritt, 56, of Chesterfield Twp., covers his face as he collects shopping carts in the parking lot earlier this month. While Metro Detroit travelers may feel the effects of the blizzard through canceled flights, the region’s weather this week is expected to remain cold but mostly clear of snow.