CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Hurricane Irene charged up the East Coast, planes stopped taking off and landing at major airports between South Carolina and Portland, Maine.
More than 9,660 flights have been canceled so far this weekend because of the storm, according to the website FlightAware.com, which tracks canceled flights.
At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, US Airways' largest hub, departures to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Washington, and others were canceled.
As usual, travelers flying into Charlotte to meet connecting flights were stranded.
"We're trying to go to Newark airport," said Lenora Asbury, who just flew in from Jamaica. Her flight is canceled and the soonest she can rebook is Monday.
"Hopefully I'll get out Monday," she said. "Because if not Monday, it may be until next Friday."
US Airways said it would waive fees to change flights through Monday for passengers delayed by Hurricane Irene. However, those flights needed to leave by Thursday, because the fees might not be waived for the Labor Day weekend.
All New York City-area airports closed to arriving flights at noon on Saturday, when the city's public transportation system shut down. By evening, the five major airports were closed.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport were both open Saturday afternoon, but most flights had been canceled.
The airports that will be most affected Sunday will be Newark Liberty International and New York's John F. Kennedy International, both with more than 1,200 cancellations, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Boston's Logan and Washington Reagan were next in line.
Airlines have already canceled dozens of flights on Monday, but all the major U.S. carriers said they would wait to assess damage before canceling more. ExpressJet, which operates regional flights for United and Continental, has the most cancellations for Monday so far at 140.
Philadelphia International Airport closed altogether at 10:30 p.m. Saturday and planned to stay closed until at least 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Asbury has trip insurance, so the hotel she booked for the next two nights is paid for. Others aren't as lucky.
Downstairs near the baggage pick-up area, lines snaked around from the car rental counters. Innessa Melamed walked around with a sign, calling to people and asking if anyone wanted to share a car to New Jersey.
"For three hours I am walking around trying to find someone to share the car with," she explained.
Melamed learned that most of the car rental companies required a major credit card for reservations, and she only had her debit card with her. She finally found a company that would take her debit card, but it required reservations.
"It's frustrating," she said, as she shook her head in disappointment.
Others, like Brian Pollock of New Jersey, booked their reservations on their smart phones while waiting in line. His flight was diverted to Charlotte from Philadelphia.
"I started on the tarmac while we were waiting for the gate to open," said Pollock. By the time he got off the plane, he had made hotel reservations and booked a car. He decided to spend the night in Charlotte with his two teenagers and then drive home Sunday.
"We're good travelers," he said. "This is just an obstacle. We'll get by. We have a room in Charlotte, and we're good."
Airlines have been cutting flights over the last year, resulting in planes flying full or nearly so, in an effort to be more efficient. That makes it harder for stranded passengers to find empty seats on new flights once the weather gets better.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.