Hurricane Sandy: Flight cancellations to cause travel chaos all week

Hurricane Sandy: Flight cancellations to cause travel chaos all weekTravellers stranded at JFK Airport: Getty

Travel chaos caused by Superstorm Sandy will continue to affect thousands of British travellers, including families on half term holidays.

More than 19,000 flights at airports across the northeast of the US have been grounded by the 85mph winds, including almost 100 to and from Britain, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The worst of the storm may well have passed, but it has left a huge backlog in air traffic.

While all three airports are expected to reopen, reduced schedules have been planned, and all travellers are being urged to contact their carriers before setting off to the airport.

It is thought that flights and airport services may not get back to normal until the weekend, with thousands of travellers having to abandon their plans.

New York has the busiest airspace in the US, with about one-quarter of all the country's flights travelling to or from there each day.

Cancellations here, therefore, can dramatically impact travel in other cities, this time leaving delays across the US and abroad, affecting travellers from San Francisco to Atlanta.

Hurricane Sandy: Flight cancellations to cause travel chaos all weekGetty

This week, Heathrow cancelled 89 flights, Manchester eight and one each at Birmingham and Edinburgh.

On Tuesday, British Airways cancelled 15 flights to and from the East Coast. In a statement, the airline said: "We are doing all we can to help customers whose flights have been cancelled and will look to use larger aircraft on some routes when the full flying schedule resumes to help get customers to their correct destination as quickly as we can.

"We are taking advice from US authorities and planning our operation and providing customer advice around that."

Virgin also cancelled a large number of flights. A Virgin spokeswoman told the Daily Mail:

"Our flights to America had been very busy at the beginning of this week due to the half-term school holiday. It's very unfortunate that this major storm has come when it has."

Flights across Europe have also been affected, with Frankfurt airport cancelling 12 incoming and nine outgoing flights because of the storm, adding to 12 it scrapped on Monday. Spain's biggest airports in Madrid and Barcelona cancelled 19 flights, on top of 13 cancelled the day before.

And Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways had cancelled six New York flights by Tuesday.

Britons could be left stranded in the US for days as flights get back to normal.

A number of British holidaymakers have told of their experience of the storm in New York, telling of explosions, falling power lines and uprooted trees.

Tony Lee, a British holidaymaker who was stuck in an apartment building in Brooklyn overnight told the Daily Telegraph: "We initially thought we had seen an explosion over the Lower East Side, but locals told us it was probably a transformer that had blown up, so we immediately lost any Internet connection, lights and power, so that was quite frightening.

"We were surrounded by green flashes of lightning and this howling wind, and everything bending over and flying at the windows and we were on the fourth floor."

Superstorm Sandy hits New York City
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Hurricane Sandy: Flight cancellations to cause travel chaos all week
The facade of an apartment building collapsed in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. The storm, which threatens 50 million people in the eastern third of the US, is expected to bring days of rain, high winds and possibly heavy snow.

Sandy has caused travel disruption: airlines at at Heathrow Airport have had to cancel flights to the US, leaving travellers stranded.

The Hudson River swells and rises over the banks of the Hoboken, New Jersey, as Hurricane Sandy approaches.

First Avenue, near East 23rd Street, New York. Power has been cut for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and an estimated 6.2 million across the East.

Sandy arrives at Brooklyn.

Cars are submerged near the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Superstorm Sandy zeroed in on New York's waterfront with fierce rain and winds that shuttered most of the nation's largest city.

Waves crash over the bow of a tug boat as it passes near the Statue of Liberty.

Staten Island, New York.

Winds from Hurricane Sandy reach Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Water from Long Island Sound spilled into roadways and towns along the Connecticut shoreline as the storm delivered a devastating surge of seawater.

Streets are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn.

Manhattan loses power.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive.

Lower Manhattan goes dark,  Monday, October 29, 2012, viewed from the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Wind-blown mist from the Hudson River along with driving rain in West New York, New Jersey, with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

Rising water rushes into a subterranian parking garage oin the Financial District of New York.

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