Northwest airline passengers were forced to put their holiday travel plans on hold Saturday after Alaska Airlines announced 47 flight cancellations.
Severe weather conditions in the Northwest forced Alaska Airlines to cancel all of its fights heading to and from Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia, leaving about 6,500 passengers stranded.
So far only one flight heading to Alaska has been affected, but more cancellations or delays could be in store if weather doesn't clear, said an airline official.
Flight 31 heading from Portland, Ore., to Anchorage was the only Alaska-bound flight canceled. All flights were scheduled to depart Saturday and today.
"We regret the impact these cancellations are having on our customers' holiday travel plans," said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines chief operating officer. "These decisions are guided by our commitment to safety, and we are making every effort to re-accommodate passengers whose flight schedules have been disrupted."
Alaska Airlines spokesman Paul McElroy said the airline would do its best to get stranded passengers on available flights once the weather clears, hopefully in time for the holidays. Portland and Seattle both reported heavy snowfall and low visibility. Both cities are expecting about a foot of snow by early today.
McElroy couldn't anticipate when travel would resume.
"We will wait and see what Mother Nature deals us and we'll act accordingly," he said. "We understand the inconvenience to customers, but safety is our first priority."
Passengers wishing to cancel their flight can ask for a full refund, McElroy said.
The National Weather Service projects cloudy weather and less than a mile of visibility in Juneau today, with a chance of snow Monday and Tuesday.
Holiday travelers can check flight status by calling Alaska Airlines' reservation center at 1-800-252-7522 or by visiting <a href="http://www.alaskaair.com" target=_new>www.alaskaair.com</a>.
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