Thursday Briefing: Storms Disrupt Holiday Travel in U.S., UK, Korean Air Strike

Blizzard on the Road
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Storms set to disrupt holiday travel on both sides of the Atlantic and a Korean Air Lines strike are the travel industry headlines to watch today. 

Storms to Hit Holiday Travel

Rain and snow could cause delays for holiday travel in both the United States and the UK

According to, parts of the northeastern U.S. are in for light snow and rain Thursday, with the greatest threat for snow accumulation and slick roadways in an area ranging from upstate New York to Maine. Ground and air travel will look better on Friday as the weather dries out. 

In the western U.S., a storm in southern California and the Four Corners region will bring rain, while a second system will bring rain and snow across the Pacific Northwest on Thursday, Accuweather said. Ice could be possible across central and northern New Mexico, northeastern Arizona and southwestern Colorado. A stronger storm will hit the west on Friday, bringing heavy rain and snow to an area ranging from Oregon to California. 

Meanwhile, in the UK, Storm Barbara could bring heavy rain and guests of up to 90mph heading into the holiday weekend, The Guardian reports. The Met Office has released weather warnings for all regions in the UK apart from the east and southeast England, including London. High winds could also lead to restrictions on bridges and ferry crossings in Scotland. Additionally, fog caused some disruption to flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports Thursday morning. 

The storms come during a record-setting holiday travel period, according to a forecast by AAA. More than 103 million Americans, the most on record, are expected to travel for the year-end holidays. This represents a 1.5 percent increase, or 1.5 million more people traveling, compared with last year. This comes despite one fewer travel day this holiday season. The year-end holiday travel period is defined as Friday, December 23 to Monday, January 2, 2017.

Korean Air Lines Pilots Go On Strike

In other air travel news, pilots for Korean Air Lines have gone on strike for the first time in 11 years, disrupting some flights to Asia and the Middle East, The Wall Street Journal reports. The strike is expected to last 10 days and could lead to the cancellation of as many as 150 passenger and cargo flights, including to Hong Kong, Dubai and Tokyo. Korean Air officials said that more than 90 percent of scheduled flights will remain unaffected. According to Korean law, at least 80 percent of a company’s international flight operations and half of local flights must be maintained even during strikes. 

A full schedule of flight changes is available on Korean Air's website

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