SAN DIEGO - Flight delays and cancelations continue at Lindbergh Field Tuesday due to weather in the East Coast, but local forecasters say dense fog posed a challenge to travelers.
A shallow marine layer and weak onshore flow blanketed San Diego County's coastal areas with dense fog early Tuesday.
Visibility for motorists was at a quarter mile of less at times, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a dense fog advisory for coastal areas until 8 a.m.
The agency cautioned motorists to use their low beams and reduce speeds.
As of 7 a.m., roughly 55 flights were canceled or delayed at Lindbergh Field. But it was not immediately clear whether the delays and cancelations arose from San Diego's foggy weather or the weather on the East Coast.
Affected airlines were Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways.
Airport officials expect air traffic problems to outlast the wild weather and recommend anyone traveling this week to check with their airline prior to going to the airport.
Hurricane Sandy grounds flights worldwide
Airlines around the world also canceled flights to and from the northeast United States as a massive storm slammed into the East Coast Monday and Tuesday.
Hurricane Sandy, now rated as a "post-tropical" superstorm, forced the closure of New York's JFK and LaGuardia airports and Newark in New Jersey "until further notice" as rising flood waters washed across parts of the city, while domestic and international flights were canceled at other major airports in the region.
Middle Eastern, European, Asian and U.S. airlines prepared to take a financial hit, with the weather stranding their passengers in cities across the globe.
The AP reported some 13,500 flights were canceled in the past two days. Additionally, 500 flights on Wednesday would be scrapped. As of 6 a.m., Flight Aware reported that about 6,000 flights were canceled for the day throughout the U.S.
"Every day this goes on you're seeing combined losses to the airlines of roughly $10 million," said Simon Calder, travel editor of the UK's The Independent newspaper.
"The cost is actually much worse for European airlines like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, because they have to pay for accommodation and meals for their customers who are stuck in the U.S. -- particularly in New York."
European Union law says airlines have a "duty of care" to take care of stranded passengers. There is no such law governing U.S. airlines.
"Delta and United can just say, 'Sorry, this is a weather event and you're not covered,'" Calder told CNN.
At least 50,000 travelers between the UK and U.S. have been affected by the storm, Calder estimates.
In Asia, airlines grounded more flights as the extent of the storm became clear. Australia's Qantas, Korean Airlines and Japan's JAL canceled all New York-bound flights on Tuesday and Cathay Pacific said Wednesday's departures to JFK would also be scrubbed.
With flights canceled to and from New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, British Airways has offered to rebook flights for its passengers due to travel to the U.S. East Coast between now and October 31.
A statement on BA's website said: "We understand that customers may be disappointed, however their safety is our highest priority."
Britain's Virgin Atlantic also canceled all flights to New York, Boston and Washington, while London's Heathrow Airport is advising U.S.-bound passengers to check their flight status before traveling to the airport.
Karen Mackenzie from Essex, in southeastern England, was planning to fly Monday to New York on a Virgin holiday package, but the airline canceled her entire holiday due to the storm.
While Virgin Atlantic gave Mackenzie a full refund, the elementary school principal says her schedule means she won't be able to rebook the holiday until next year.
"I feel really horrible for those poor people in New York at the moment, waiting for the hurricane to hit. It's disappointing to lose our holiday, but for them it's a much more hideous situation," she told CNN.
Qatar Airways and the United Arab Emirates-based airlines Etihad and Emirates also canceled flights to the U.S. northeast. In a statement Emirates said the safety of their passengers "will not be compromised."
Air France, Germany's Lufthansa, Ireland's Aer Lingus and Turkish Airlines have also scrubbed flights in and out of New York .
Some 50 million people from Virginia to Massachusetts are expected to feel the effect of Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey late Monday.
The cost of potential wind damage alone could be up to $3 billion, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The storm has also prompted thousands of domestic cancelations across America.
While all American Airlines flights to the east coast are canceled, the airline is operating a normal service to other parts of the country.
United Airlines grounded roughly 3,700 flights between Sunday and Wednesday, and Delta said all flights from Washington to Boston, and out of New York and Philadelphia, were canceled.
Both companies are allowing some customers to change their flight plans without paying any fees due to the storm.
So how long will it take for airlines to get stranded passengers to their destinations once the hurricane subsides? Not long, according to CNN's Richard Quest, who said the problem should start being resolved from Wednesday.
Quest said: "All the airlines have exceptionally sophisticated recovery programs. What they do is they don't make the flight to the first place. They don't send the aircraft into the bad areas, so they don't get stranded. So they're now already starting to work out flights for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You write off Monday and Tuesday, then you start to rebuild the schedule."
"After the [Icelandic volcanic] ash cloud two years ago, airlines were able to restore the schedule quite quickly, simply because people canceled their flights [and didn't rebook]. And that's what the airlines are banking on.
"I'm guessing by the weekend everyone's got where they need to be."
Passengers who arrived in San Diego Sunday counted their blessings as airlines continue to cancel flights from the East Coast because of Hurricane Sandy.
"It was the calm before the storm. We made it out just before flights stopped leaving," passenger Joel Wertheim told 10News.
Few flights from the northeast made it to Lindbergh Field Sunday as airlines canceled and delayed flights.
"We felt fortunate to be one of the last flights out of JFK," added passenger Scott Rogers. "I heard they closed it down about 8 o'clock and we must have taken off a few minutes before that."
Hurricane Sandy threatened to ground air travel for at least a couple days. Flight passengers from the East Coast told 10News that even once they were on the plane, it was not certain they would get off the ground.
"There was a long line up, we were twelfth in line to take off," added Tymkiw. "There were about three or four behind us."
But passengers said they were glad to get to their destination.
"There was this huge line of planes on the tarmac," added passenger Celia Tedde. "It took us like an hour-and-a-half to two hours to get off the tarmac. And we were worried we weren't going to make it out. But it's great to be in San Diego."
Justin Glyer was one of many passengers glued to the monitors at Lindbergh Field Monday morning.
"The flight was delayed a couple hours," Glyer said. "Looks like they pushed it another half hour now … You don't expect to come down to San Diego and be taking a flight [to] San Francisco and be delayed two hours on a Monday in October," he added.
Deb Beduhn was trying to get out of San Diego. She was enjoying a relaxing trip at a Temecula winery when she received a sobering call on Saturday that her flight was canceled.
"And they said, 'Weather,'" Beduhn said. "That's the only answer I got was 'weather,' and so I said I [have to] get home because I have to get back to work, and so they finally routed me through Denver -- Denver onto Madison."
Nearly three dozen flights to and from San Diego were canceled Monday.
According to Katie Jones of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, 35 San Diego flights were canceled, with more expected on Tuesday.
Jet Blue's two flights between Lindbergh Field and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City were dropped, as well as one of tomorrow's runs. The airline also canceled a flight to Logan Field in Boston.
Delta also canceled a flight to JFK.
According to the website nycaviation.com, Sandy's storm surge could wash over the runways at both JFK and LaGuardia Airport in New York.
US Airways canceled flights between San Diego and Philadelphia, and between San Diego and Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
The airport authority urged passengers to contact their airline before heading to the airport.
"It's going to take awhile for the hurricane to pass completely, and then once it does, there's a ripple effect for all these kinds of flights," Jones told a local television station.
Nearly 14,000 flights across the country had been canceled due to the storm as of late Monday afternoon.
Glyer said it could be a lot worse than being stuck in San Diego.
"[The] weather's great down here, so I guess it's not the end of the world," he explained.
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