As Hurricane Sandy barrels toward the New York metro area, airlines canceled flights in and out of all local airports, triggering a massive ripple effect worldwide.
The Category 1 hurricane threatened to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for domestic and international flights.
Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Westchester and Stewart airports canceled all flights in the nation's busiest airspace. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 7,500 flights had been grounded on Monday and Tuesday.
Westchester County Airport's operations division said some airlines might resume operations Tuesday but it's unlikely there will be a full slate of flights until Wednesday.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Monday that travelers shouldn't even go to the airports.
"Travelers should consult with their airlines for the status of flights before coming to the airport," according to an advisory on the Port Authority's website.
Hurricane Sandy stranded passengers nationwide and in far-flung destinations throughout Europe and Asia. Airlines canceled or delayed flights to New York and Washington from cities that are major travel hubs including London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Businessman Alan Shrem was trying to return home to Boca Raton, Fla., but his Monday morning Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Kennedy Airport was canceled. He could be stuck in Hong Kong for nearly a week because the next available seat is Sunday.
"They just say: Yeah, it's a pretty big waiting list," said Shrem. In the meantime, he'll have to fork out $400 a night to continue staying at a nearby hotel. The airline won't pay for accommodation for stranded passengers if delays are weather related.
All flights from Paris to Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington -- a total of 14 -- were canceled.
Frankfurt airport canceled 12 flights, with German carrier Lufthansa scrapping three to the Northeast and one out of Newark. British Airways had to cancel all its flights to and from New York, Newark, Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston and Philadelphia -- a total of 20.
With The Associated Press