Travelers stuck in the chaos as flight delays, cancelations plague Tri-State Area airports

NEW YORK — FlightAware reported more than 8,000 delays and nearly 1,500 cancelations at US airports Monday.

CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke to travelers stuck in the chaos.

Sherrie Wallace was at LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday afternoon. She was supposed to head home to Ohio on Monday, but her flight never took off.

“I’m still here 24 hours later,” she said. “My flight was delayed once, twice, three times and then a fourth time … They then told us the flight was canceled.”

She was among stranded travelers, many lined up sleeping overnight, hoping to get on a flight.

Anthony Caudeo got stuck at Newark Airport.

“I was waiting on the ramp, like, two hours in the plane, and whenever I got off, they informed me that my flight got canceled,” he said.

It cost him a hotel room in Jersey, then a cab to New York, where his flight was rescheduled.

“Kind of stressful,” he said.

There were cancellations and delays across our three major area airports Monday due to weather, but frequent flyer Ron Werner, from Denver, Colorado, feels lately, it’s a perfect storm.

“The airways are crowded, there’s clearly a lack of personnel and a lot of lack of organization. We know they’re trying, but it’s still a mess,” he said.

Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg warned it could take months to fix, in part due to staff shortages.

“So the good news is we’ve seen some improvement. The bottom line is it’s still not an acceptable level of delays and cancellations,” he said. “Weather issues happen … but they cascade through the system because the system is not yet able to cope.”

Buttigieg sent the following letter to all US airlines urging carriers pay for meals and lodging for those stuck:

Travelers CBS2 spoke with say better communication is a start.

“If there’s that little inkling of a cancelation, I think it would be better to tell us ahead of time rather than later,” Wallace said.

The DOT plans to unveil an interactive dashboard online so travelers on US airlines can see what services and amenities are available to them when flights are delayed or canceled. This will roll out ahead of Labor Day on Sept. 2.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the average delay across the national airspace system Monday was 37 minutes, and 92% of those minutes were due to weather. Five percent was due to volume, and 3% was due to staffing.

United sent CBS2 the following statement:

“We faced a challenging operation due to severe weather in the New York/New Jersey area yesterday evening. Our teams continue to assist customers on-site and ensure that travelers get to their destinations as quickly and safely as possible. We have a travel waiver in place for those whose plans are flexible.”

Southwest told CBS2 cancelations represent less than 1% of flights scheduled in May and June, and the airline has hired 10,000 new employees since January.

The FAA adds they are on target to meet their annual hiring goal and is reducing the training backlog caused by the pandemic.

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