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updated: 10/30/2012 12:33 AM

O'Hare delays could continue beyond Sandy

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  • Travelers wait for their luggage at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as a live update on Hurricane Sandy is broadcast, Monday.

      Travelers wait for their luggage at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as a live update on Hurricane Sandy is broadcast, Monday.
    Associated Press

 
 

Bostonian Craig Taylor loves his New England Patriots so much he flew to London to see them play the St. Louis Rams Sunday.

The Patriots won, but now Taylor is cooling his heels in Chicago Bears territory, having flown here after Hurricane Sandy caused the cancellation of his Boston-bound flight along with thousands of others to the East Coast.

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"It's been a comedy of errors," Taylor said, laughing, as he tried to figure out his next step from O'Hare International Airport Monday.

It was a relatively light day at O'Hare, and that's expected to continue through Wednesday as airlines canceled virtually all flights to New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and other eastern destinations.

More than 450 flights at O'Hare were scrubbed Monday, most of those destined for the East Coast, while at Midway International Airport more than 100 flights were grounded.

Nationwide, more than 6,870 flights were cut and almost 2,670 were canceled for Tuesday, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based industry data provider. Counting flights grounded Sunday, the tally exceeds 11,000.

While the hurricane's impact on domestic flights has and is continuing to affect local residents, international travel was a different story for the most part.

A number of arriving passengers on direct flights at O'Hare's International Terminal Monday said the only delays they experienced were mechanical.

Although the city and suburbs are far removed from the hurricane's impact, Sandy is expected to have a muted effect here in terms of increased wind speeds, with gusts of 40 to 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Sustained winds of those speeds could lead to delays at O'Hare and Midway, experts said.

"The long arm of Sandy may reach us here," said Arlington Heights pilot Dennis Tajer, an official with the Allied Pilots Association.

Meanwhile, some airlines are cautioning that delays and cancellations could continue in the aftermath of the hurricane. All passengers are advised to check their airlines' websites for flight information.

The storm could also affect the bottom line for carriers, including Chicago-based United Airlines.

The economic fallout from the storm for airlines could be up to $100 million, said Michael Boyd, president of aviation consultant Boyd Group International Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. A majority of airlines waived fees for passengers switching flights.

• Daily Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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