As the East Coast grinds back into gear after Hurricane Irene's weekend romp, travelers headed into and out of the region are facing numerous delays that could last throughout the week.

Nearly 12,000 flights nationwide were canceled because of Hurricane Irene, which made its way up the Eastern Seaboard over the weekend.

Because airlines moved several hundred planes out of the storm's path to avoid damage, they are racing to get all of their aircraft back in place to return to normal service.

In New York alone, the three major airports were struggling to resume operations on Monday.

Though departing flights were not scheduled to resume until noon, both JFK and Newark airports opened to arriving flights beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

LaGuardia Airport resumed all normal activity beginning at 7 a.m.

Though the airports have reopened, many flights to the New York area were still canceled as of Monday morning.

The unprecedented closure of all New York area airports by the Port Authority, the agency with jurisdiction over the metropolitan area's airports, had a rippling effect across the nation and the world.

The New York area brings in more passenger traffic than any other airspace in the U.S. Trying to squeeze all the displaced passengers onto scheduled flights, simply won't be possible.

Flights out of Richmond, Va., Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston were also canceled Sunday.

The coming week is traditionally a very busy week for air travel as it is seen by many as the final week of the summer vacation season.

We're coming into the Labor Day holiday weekend, so a lot of those flights are already full, said Todd Lehmacher, a spokesman for US Airways.

Flight schedules are expected to be back to normal by Tuesday morning, but it will still take some time for people to get on the flights they need as airlines try to catch up.

Lehmacher noted that Tuesday and Wednesday are usually the slowest days of the week for air travel, which could help stranded travelers get on the flights they need.

Still, it will take a few days for everyone to get where they want to go, cautioned Mateo Leras, a spokesman for JetBlue.

The New York-based airline added several flights Monday to handle passengers who couldn't fly over the weekend.


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According to flight tracking service, about 650,000 to 700,000 air travelers have been grounded since Friday.

Unfortunately, there aren't many options for stranded travelers. Some are considering hopping on buses or trains, but both Greyhound and Amtrak suspended service to East Coast cities when Irene hit. Officials were scrambling to get all the trains and buses back in place on Monday.

While most Amtrak services between Washington and Philadelphia were set to resume Monday morning, service between Philadelphia and Boston remained cancelled.

Transportation officials across the board are reminding passengers that though the storm may be gone, the cleanup has only just begun.