After 13,000 grounded flights, air transport begins returning to normal

Airports including Washington, D.C., and Baltimore hope to begin digging out today after back-to-back winter storms that forced the cancellation of up to 13,000 flights through Wednesday. "You had a number of major metropolitan East Coast airports that literally gave up on the idea of trying to stay open, so the result was a wholesale shutdown instead of a selective pruning of flights," said airline consultant Robert Mann. Getting thousands of stranded passengers back on their way will take time, the airlines warned. "From a standpoint of re-accommodating customers, that will go into next week," said a spokesman for Southwest.

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