Hurricane Sandy grounded thousands of flights in the U.S. northeast Monday stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe. The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights.

So far a few flights have been canceled at Vancouver International Airport as the east coast braces for Hurricane Sandy.

WestJet spokeswoman Jennifer Sanford said that airline pre-emptively canceled flights into New York via LaGuardia airport for Monday and Tuesday.

Because most airports in the US northeast are closed Monday, and about 150 Air Canada flights have been canceled. So far, flights on the Toronto-Vancouver run are not affected for either airline.

The 3:45 p.m. departure to Newark Liberty International Airport is canceled, as well as the 10:50 p.m. flight to New York’s JFK Airport on Cathay Pacific.

The 10:04 a.m. arrival from Newark is also canceled. Same goes for the flight arriving from JFK Tuesday at 1:55 a.m.

Hundreds of travelers are also stranded at airports along the eastern seaboard.

Many eastbound flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were also canceled Monday, including New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and some flights to Boston and Washington, DC.

Most inbound flights from those regions heading to Sea-Tac were also canceled.

Connecting flights from Bellingham Airport through Sea-Tac are likely to be affected and travelers are advised to check with their airlines before heading out.

Besides interruptions to air travel, many state and metropolitan transit systems are shut down, as well as the New York Stock Exchange.

Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated to higher ground.

The worst of the so-called “Frankenstorm” is expected to hit Tuesday afternoon, and the U.S. National Hurricane Centre has said the 1,600-kilometre wide storm is still gathering strength as it moves toward the coast.

Major carriers such as American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta planned to cancel all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation’s busiest airspace. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 7,500 flights had been cancelled for Sunday and Monday. Both Philadelphia International Airport and Newark International Airport, a hub for United Airlines, each had more than 1,200 cancellations for the two days.