Travelers Could Be Grounded Until The Weekend In The Aftermath Of Hurricane Sandy

The trouble with Sandy started yesterday when airlines began canceling flights out of East Coast cities for today and even tomorrow, and the problems won’t stop there. More cancellations are likely to be announced in the coming days, which is a bummer. On the upside — it’s a slow travel season right now so that means less of a hassle.

CNNMoney talked to Farecompare.com Chief Executive Rick Seaney who predicts things will all be smoothed out by the end of the weekend. Yeah, I know, it’s Monday so… the end of the weekend.

“Barring significant airport damage, flight patterns should be back to normal by the end of the weekend,” he said.

Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall in New Jerseyish or New Yorkish sometime early on Tuesday morning. However, while other experts warn that Sandy will be more disruptive than Tropical Storm Irene, it won’t be as bad as the Icelandic volcano that mucked up international flights for quite some time.

Another positive is that travelers had a lot of warning that Sandy was on her way, which allowed them to make for other plans when their flights got canceled ahead of time.

“With airlines precanceling thousands of flights, fewer people will be stuck this week trying to return home. And airlines have had plenty of time to position their aircraft out of harm’s way so they’ll be ready to handle the backlog [of flights] when things calm down,” said Seaney.

So far the airlines have been varied in their announcements about when air travel will be normal again. On the early side is United, which says it’ll be up and running on Tuesday.

“United expects to resume service on Tuesday with selected cancellations, weather permitting,” the airline said.

JetBlue is bit more ambiguous about its plans, saying: “We expect to be operational the day after the storm passes.”

Hurricane Sandy grounds airlines for days [CNNMoney]