Major delays plague some JFK travelers 3 days after winter storm


Hourslong delays continue to plague some travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Sunday morning, two days after flights resumed at the major transit hub in the wake of a powerful winter storm, complaints posted to social media indicate.

While the Federal Aviation Administration was reporting that delays were generally 15 minutes or less at the hub, passengers of various airlines were complaining on Twitter that their respective flights were still backed up.

"Chaos trying to get home from #newyork #jfk. 17 hour delays and now Stuck at Heathrow til 8pm. Where’s my bed," one flier vented in a tweet Sunday morning.

"@Delta 2+ hours delayed so far at #jfk going to SEA and not even close to leaving, never again," another added to a chorus of frustrated voices.

Virgin Atlantic tweeted that police had to be called to its gate it was sharing with XL Airways on Saturday night because passengers caused a "disturbance."

Travelers were still complaining to XL about delays and customer service on Sunday morning.

"Mood is getting mutinous at the gate. I don’t envy the @XLAirways_NA staffers at the desk," one man tweeted.

Customers complained both Friday and Saturday that they waited as many as six hours on the tarmac before their planes docked at a gate and as many as eight hours to collect their baggage from carousels. Others awaiting a departure spent the night sleeping on terminal floors, photos showed.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees operations at JFK, said in a statement that the FAA closed Terminal 1 to incoming flights after 7 p.m. on Saturday, delaying flights from reaching gates at Terminals 1 and 4.

Among the 1,008 arrivals and departures that day, there were 94 canceled flights, the agency said on Sunday.

"Yesterday's extreme cold, amid the ongoing recovery from Thursday's storm, created a cascading series of issues for the airlines and terminal operators," the Port Authority statement said. "These included frozen equipment breakdowns, difficulties in baggage handling, staff shortages, and heavier than typical passenger loads. These challenges left passengers on planes for extensive periods, as the airlines and terminal operators experienced delays in getting aircraft in and out of gates."

The right wing of a China Southern Airlines jet collided with the tail of a Kuwait Airways plane early Saturday morning at Kennedy Airport, stranding passengers on each aircraft, according to the Port Authority.

No injuries were reported when the China plane clipped the Kuwaiti plane, and passengers were “safely deplaned,” said Alana Calmi, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority, which runs the region’s major airports. Calmi called the collision “minor.”

Flights departing from Kennedy Airport resumed after Thursday’s windy snowstorm as of 7:13 a.m. Friday, the transportation center said. As of Sunday, the airport's runways and taxiways were fully operational, although airlines are still in "recovery mode," the Port Authority said. 

"Frigid temperatures continue to cause equipment failures and slower than normal operations," the agency said. "Customers may experience residual delays, particularly for international flights."

 

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