Grounded planes stranding passengers

120 of 140 flights canceled in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS - More than 3,700 flights — around one out of every 10 domestic departures — were canceled Monday morning, following a weekend of travel disruption across the country. The bulk of those cancellations were in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston.

Most of the scheduled departures and arrivals at Indianapolis International Airport were canceled Monday. Officials said 120 of the 140 daily flights into and out of Indy were canceled.

MORE: Current Flight Status at Indianapolis International Airport

"It's been one weather system after another," said Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant. "It's been a challenging 72 hours."

Grounded planes in Indy caused close to 100 people to spend the night in the terminal – they found room to rest on benches, floors and even in bathrooms.

With wind chills as low as 45 below zero at some airports, workers could only remain exposed on the ramp for a few minutes. That made loading and unloading luggage a challenge.

JetBlue Airways stopped all scheduled flights to and from New York and Boston. American Airlines said temperatures are so cold at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport that fuel and de-icing liquids were actually frozen. United Airlines said its fuel is pumping slower than normal in Chicago.

Passengers reported long lines at airports as they tried to rebook on other flights. United Airlines had so many phone calls that it was suggesting travelers use its website to rebook.

In recent years, airlines have cut the number of flights to ensure that most of their planes depart full. That's been great for their bottom line but leaves very few empty seats to rebook stranded travelers. Sometimes, it takes days to get everybody where they should be.

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