On Thursday January 19th the Pacific Northwest received a record amount of snow; causing flight disruptions and eventually even an airport closure. Seattle Sea-Tac Airport had to shut down early on Thursday morning when a major ice storm covered the region. It was the airport's first closure in at least a decade. Airport crew worked throughout the night to de-ice the runways, but their efforts were hindered by freezing rain.
The airport reopened on its three runways on Friday, but had a large backlog of passengers and flights resulting in further delays.
Alaska Airlines which operates its largest hub out of Seattle Sea-Tac faced the most delays and cancellations. The airline proactively cancelled 38 flights out of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon by 6am on Wednesday January 18th. The airline is still urging passengers to check their website before heading to the airport. As of today 310 Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air flights have been cancelled, affecting over 29,000 passengers.
"We are doing our best to operate as many flights as possible to get people where they need to go as we cope with severe ice accumulation on our planes," Alaska Airlines' president Brad Tilden said. "We appreciate customers' patience and understanding as we contend with the freezing rain that has disrupted travel throughout the region."
An Airport worker stops in disbelief to film the snow falling overlooking Concourses A&B and South Satellite: