Airlines are generally shutting down their operations this afternoon at the three big New York-area airports, as well as in Boston, Providence and other Northeastern airports.

They're hoping to resume flights tomorrow -- but that may depend on the severity of the massive storm that is threatening to dump up to three feet of snow in parts of the region.

The flight-tracking website FlightAware says airlines have already canceled more than 4,000 flights through tomorrow.

Many travelers are already steering clear of the region, and airlines are waiving the usual fees to change flights in the affected area.

Airlines are increasingly automating the process of re-booking passengers. Delta is rolling out software it calls "VIPER" -- for Virtual Inconvenienced Passenger Expedited Reprotection -- to find replacement flights for passengers whose flights have been canceled -- even if it means changing flights at an airport that could be hundreds of miles out of the way.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.