Over 2,200 flights were cancelled on Friday and over 600 were cancelled on Saturday as airlines are struggling to resume normal operations after a fire was set in the basement communications room of the Aurora, IL ATC facility early Friday morning. The FAA is still evaluating the damage, and reports say the repairs could take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks to complete the repairs, replacement and full restoration of service.
The airspace in and around Chicago is operating at reduced capacity and airlines are compensating by delaying and cancelling flights. Here is how some airlines are handling their schedule:
American/US Airways: “Due to situation in Chicago, American Airlines offers the following flexibility options to our ticketed customers whose travel may be impacted by this event. Customers ticketed to travel on AA*/US flights to/from/through the airports listed below may change flights as shown below. (click here for the specific list of cities)
On the following dates: September 26 – 28, 2014
And your ticket was issued no later than: September 26, 2014
You may travel: September 26, 2014 – September 30, 2014
Original inventory required? No
Origin/Destination/Stopover Changes allowed? Yes. Permitted within 300 miles
The ticket reissue charge will be waived for one ticket change.
Delta: “An air traffic control outage in Chicago Center may impact travel to/from/through various cities. Check flight status frequently for up-to-the-minute info about your flight plans, or get updates sent directly to your wireless device or email with Delta Messenger.
Rescheduling Flights: You may make a one-time change to your ticket without fee if you are scheduled to travel to, from, or through the impacted cities on Delta, Delta Connection®, or Delta-coded flights during the specified time periods listed below: September 26-27”
Southwest/AirTran Airways: “Customers holding a reservation for travel to/from Chicago (MDW) or Milwaukee (MKE) for Friday, September 26 thru Wednesday, October 1 may reschedule or cancel their flights in accordance with our accommodation procedures.”
United: “Air traffic control disruptions in Chicago, and high call volumes. The evacuation of an FAA air traffic control facility has resulted in significant flight cancellations and delays at airports in Chicago and parts of the Midwest. We are offering options for changing travel plans in some cases. Due to high call volumes, united.com offers the fastest service options. Learn more >” Original Travel Dates:
September 26-29, 2014
If you are traveling to, from, or even thru Chicago in the next week, be sure to check with your carrier for delays. Even if your travels don’t take you specifically thru the midwest, delays are possible as airlines are still forced to fly lower and around the affected ATC area. So just beware, and be patient.