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Friday, February 8, 2013 - Page updated at 06:00 a.m.

Airlines canceling flights before storm hits Northeast

The Associated Press

The big storm heading for the Northeast is already disrupting air travel.

United Airlines said it has canceled 900 flights for Friday in advance of the storm. Delta Air Lines canceled 740.

New England could get smacked with up to two feet of snow Friday, while New York City is under a blizzard warning for up to a foot or more of snow.

The airports with the most cancellations Friday are Newark Liberty, Boston’s Logan International and LaGuardia, in that order, according to airline-tracking website FlightAware.

American Airlines canceled 50 flights Thursday and was scrapping 50 more Friday. A spokesman said more flights were likely to be canceled.

On Thursday, the biggest weather problems were in Chicago. O’Hare has seen 85 canceled departures.

Airlines issued so-called “weather waivers,” allowing passengers flying in the storm-affected areas to change their flight date without paying a change fee.

In recent years airlines have tried to get ahead of big storms by canceling flights in advance rather than hoping they could operate in bad weather. Travelers can still face dayslong delays in getting home, but the advanced cancellations generally mean they get more notice and can wait out the storm at home or a hotel, rather than on a cot at the airport.

In addition, reservation systems have been programmed to automatically rebook passengers when flights are canceled.

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