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Published October 31, 2012, 03:50 PM

Northeast travel slowly resumes

(AP) - Travel in the Northeast creaked back into motion on Wednesday, a grinding, patchy recovery that made it clear that stranded travelers will struggle to get around for days to come.

By: DAVID KOENIG,AP Airlines Writers JOSHUA FREED,AP Airlines Writers, Associated Press

(AP) - Travel in the Northeast creaked back into motion on Wednesday, a grinding, patchy recovery that made it clear that stranded travelers will struggle to get around for days to come.

Two of the three major airports in the New York area re-opened with limited flights. Most Northeast rail service was suspended. In New York City, some buses were running and subway service was expected to restart Thursday.

FlightStats said the storm caused more than 19,000 cancellations, including 2,820 cancellations Wednesday. The loss of East Coast flights stranded tourists in New York and kept travelers stuck in Hong Kong. The lack of trains left suburban commuters without a way into work.

On Wednesday, the first trickle of air travelers reached New York since the storm hit. John F. Kennedy International and Newark, N.J.'s Liberty Airport both opened, but flights were limited. The airlines that did operate were mostly positioning planes for a fuller schedule on Thursday.

New York's third major airport, LaGuardia remained closed as officials assessed flood damage from the storm. A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said the assessment of the airport's runways had not been completed. He said more details might be available by late afternoon or evening.

Several airlines had hoped to resume flying there on Thursday

"There are a lot of contingencies before we can re-open at LaGuardia," Southwest spokesman Paul Flaningan said. "It's still barricaded at the front entrance, which makes drop-offs from taxis and buses difficult."

Delta Air Lines Inc. said it operated about half of its planned flights at JFK. United, the biggest airline at Newark, said it was flying several dozen domestic and international flights at that airport on Wednesday.

Other airlines, including American and Southwest, said they won't resume New York flights until Thursday.

Major rail service in the region remained largely suspended. While some commuter lines were expected back Wednesday afternoon, Amtrak's Northeast Regional service between Newark, N.J., and Boston remained closed, as did the Acela Express through the Northeast corridor. No date was set for resuming service.

Amtrak restored train service to the Newark airport. But trains to and from New York's Penn Station were still not operating because tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers were flooded.

Airlines continued to waive fees to change tickets for flights to New York airports. Delta and United said that anyone who planned to fly there through Saturday could change their ticket. However, the re-booked travel still had to begin by Nov. 9, giving travelers a relatively narrow window to make their trip.

American's waiver was broader, covering New York tickets through Nov. 7, and allowing rebooked travel through Dec. 20.

Airports in Washington and Philadelphia re-opened on Tuesday.

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