More than a thousand flights are being grounded as a blast of arctic air barrels over the Midwest, bringing with it temperatures too low for airfield workers to load bags or get planes ready for takeoff.
United Continental Holdings Inc.
is canceling about 80% of its schedule at its hub in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, or about 500 of the more than 600 daily flights it operates there. The cancellations stretch from Tuesday evening through Thursday morning.
Southwest Airlines Co.
said it canceled more than 700 flights at Chicago’s Midway International Airport scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday. About 70% of all flights to and from Midway on Wednesday have been canceled, according to tracking website FlightAware. A Southwest spokesman said the airline doesn’t want its employees exposed to extreme conditions like those expected at Midway for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Chicago and other cities in the Midwest are bracing for some of the coldest temperatures to hit the region in decades. Temperatures in Chicago could reach record lows Wednesday with wind chills of minus 50 Fahrenheit, dangerously cold conditions that can cause frostbite to exposed skin in as little as five minutes, according to the National Weather Service.
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