The massive flight delays and cancellations this month due to the winter storms and then the bitter cold have cost the airlines and passengers $1.4 billion, according to masFlight, an airline consulting firm.
The masFlight analysis of the 95,000 industry flight delays and cancellations from Jan. 1 to Jan. 6 showed a cost to passengers of $37.60 per hour, or nearly a billion dollars, with an additional cost to airlines of $4,690 per hour, or $452 million.
"The [$1.4 billion] is probably an accurate number ... but it includes everything," aviation expert Michael Boyd speculated.
"I don't want to make light of it, but this is not going to be as big a hit to the airline industry overall for the year as it might look today," the president of the Boyd Group said Wednesday on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
He did predict that JetBlue will probably be affected the most, because of the carrier's extraordinary step Monday of grounding all flights for 17 hours at the four biggest airports in the New York area and Boston.
"I think what JetBlue did is the right thing. You can't operate, you shut it down," Boyd said. "The reality is JetBlue probably inconvenienced thousands fewer by doing what they did."
New rules calling for longer pilot rest times — which went into effect over the weekend — complicated the already-tough weather situation, JetBlue said.