'Bomb cyclone' brings heavy snow and walloping winds to Northeast

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Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and its partner Virgin America canceled 76 flights for Wednesday and Thursday at five Northeast airports in advance of the large, powerful winter storm that’s being described as a “bomb cyclone,” or bombogenesis.

The two airlines canceled 25 Wednesday flights and 51 Thursday flights. Heavy snow and near-hurricane-force winds walloped parts of the Northeast seaboard Thursday.

The Associated Press reported Thursday morning that airports in the New York City area and Boston have been particularly hard hit, with more than two-thirds of flights in and out canceled. By Thursday afternoon, the airline-tracking site FlightAware reported nearly 5,000 canceled flights within, into, or out of the United States. Ripple-effect delays can be expected across the nation.

Alaska and Virgin America canceled most of their flights in and out of Boston, New York Kennedy, New York LaGuardia, Newark and Philadelphia.

Most airlines were letting customers change reservations without incurring a fee, usually up to $200 on U.S. flights. Alaska and Virgin America are waiving change and cancellation fees for passengers who wish to alter their plans to or from affected airports. (Learn more at alaskaair.com and virginamerica.com.)

If you have plans to fly to the East Coast in the next few days, or plan to meet a passenger scheduled to fly from that region, check the status of flights before heading for the airport. Check online here for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport flights.