Travel ground to a halt in New England Monday and was expected to do so for much of Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy lashed the Eastern Seaboard with driving rain and powerful winds, bringing travel by plane, train, bus, and boat to a standstill.
More than 90 percent of flights at Logan International Airport were canceled Monday, about 900 arrivals and departures, with more expected Tuesday, including all JetBlue Airways flights. Amtrak trains along the Northeast Corridor were idled through Tuesday, as were many of the buses leaving South Station.
The skies were emptier across the nation, with about 13,000 flights canceled since Saturday, according to FlightStats Inc., with the majority of disruptions in New York; Newark; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and Boston.
Few passengers were stranded at Logan, airport officials said, because people generally do not connect in Boston. But several travelers made the trek in to try to reschedule their canceled flights.
Angela Neville and Helen Tubb of Australia came to the airport to rebook their flight out of Boston. The friends, in town for a radiation therapy conference, were supposed to fly to Los Angeles Monday, but are now stranded here until Friday. They plan to head back to the conference, which goes through Tuesday, and possibly check out Paul Revere’s grave.
“I thought we’d do some windsurfing,” joked Neville, 55, who is hoping for better weather by the time they leave. “I have to take [medication] to fly on a clear day, so flying on a stormy day is like miserable.”
Michael Drew, a 66-year-old real estate broker headed to Bosnia, could not get through to Lufthansa to reschedule his flight to Frankfurt, so he drove to Logan from Rochester, N.Y., to speak to an agent in person. But when Drew got to the ticket counter, it was deserted.
“If I don’t see an employee in 20 minutes, I’m just going to drive home,” he said.
Logan officials expect the airlines to start rebuilding their schedules Tuesday and hope travel will return to normal Wednesday. Airlines are waiving change fees and fare differences for travelers who have to adjust or cancel their flights due to the storm.
Amtrak canceled all its service along the Northeast Corridor Monday and Tuesday, including the Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains out of Boston. Passengers will be issued refunds or vouchers. Amtrak said more than 750,000 riders travel on the Northeast Corridor each weekday.
All buses headed west out of South Station were canceled Monday morning, although several lines offered service north and to the Cape through late afternoon. Peter Pan Bus Lines,Greyhound Lines, and BoltBus canceled their service through Tuesday. Megabus canceled its Boston trips through noon Tuesday, as well as a few Tuesday afternoon trips to New York. Bus companies are offering refunds or credits and allowing passengers to reschedule trips for no additional fee.
Meanwhile, in the harbor, three cruise ships carrying about 6,000 passengers were sitting out Hurricane Sandy in the Port of Boston.
The Caribbean Princess, part of Princess Cruises, diverted to Boston with 2,500 passengers instead of heading to Bermuda Sunday, to avoid strong winds and high swells. The ship’s departure date has not been determined, but it is due in New York Wednesday.
Passengers can get off the ship, according to a Princess Cruises spokeswoman, but because local tour operators have canceled their outings, most of them are staying put.
Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Symphony arrived in Boston Sunday with more than 900 passengers for what was supposed to be a daylong visit that turned into a two-night stay.
Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, which can accommodate 2,500 passengers and was due to leave Sunday for the Caribbean, will remain docked until Tuesday. The ships need to be out Thursday, the final day of the local cruise season, Massachusetts Port Authority officials said, to make way for two visiting ships.
Massport has supplied the ships with fresh water, and several tug boats have been positioned alongside to help hold them in place during the storm.
At area hotels, proprietors were doing what they could to keep stranded travelers happy. The Revere Hotel offered local residents affected by the storm a special rate starting at $109 a night (down from $349).
Rooms at the three local Kimpton hotels — Nine Zero Hotel, Hotel Marlowe, and Onyx Hotel — are 20 percent off Monday and Tuesday night, and they are serving a special drink during the regular evening wine hour — you guessed it — hurricanes.
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