Tuesday, May 21, 2024
    HomeBusinessTravelers camp out at Newark Airport while delays, cancellations persist

    Travelers camp out at Newark Airport while delays, cancellations persist

    NEWARK, N.J. — The weather grounded many air travelers’ plans on Tuesday.

    The airport hit worst by this week’s storm has been none other than Newark Liberty. About 30% flights were canceled and another 30% were delayed.

    READ MOREStorms cause delays, cancelations at airports across Tri-State Area

    Inside Terminal B, it was one misery-laden story after another.

    “Terrible. I’m so sad. I work seven days a week. I want to be on a beach,” said Rosie Detoma of Long Island.

    “They cancelled the 2 p.m. flight. They put us on the 6 p.m. flight, cancelled the 6, and now we can’t get out until Friday,” said Steve Roppoli of Mississippi.

    Check your flight status

    CBS New York caught up with travelers without a seat in the sky staking out tables, chairs, and even luggage carts as they prepared to spend another night in whatever nook and cranny they can find.

    “We’ve slept on a little bit of everything. This is the comfiest I’ve slept on all night. I’ve slept on the floor. I tried sleeping on the terrible chairs, the carpet. I actually didn’t mind the carpet,” said Omid Haghnegahdar of Los Angeles.

    Another day of frustration for travelers at Tri-State airports

    Brothers Omid and Kian were trying to get back to the West Coast. While they understand severe weather since Sunday caused hundreds of delays and cancellations in the Tri-State Area alone, they said the decision making by airlines has been a bit perplexing.

    “Our brother, actually, his departure was for today. We were supposed to leave yesterday. He ended up leaving before us,” Kian Haghnegahdar said.

    Drew Caneza said he is willing to drive the 16 hours home to Orlando, Florida, or even take the 23-hour train ride. But at Newark Airport, both options are sold out.

    “I got two kids at home, so I gotta get home to them, gotta get back to my job, if they haven’t fired me yet,” Caneza said.

    His flight was canceled and the next available option isn’t until Thursday. The airline, he said, is not helping to find or pay for a place to stay.

    “The added expense of a hotel room, another flight, all that stuff, I mean, it adds up,” Caneza said.

    While travelers are blasting airlines, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby is blaming the Federal Aviation Administration for the problems.

    In an email to employees, Kirby wrote, “I’m … frustrated that the FAA frankly failed us. … As you know, the weather we saw in EWR is something that the FAA has historically been able to manage without a severe impact on our operation and customers.”

    The FAA shot back with a statement, writing “We will always collaborate with anyone seriously willing to join us to solve a problem.”

    Bill McGee is the senior fellow for aviation at the American Economic Liberties Project. He says none of the airlines are in any position to point fingers.

    “You are better protected on a U.S. airline in, say, Brussels or Paris than you are in Atlanta or Dallas. Think about the irony of that,” McGee said.

    That’s because, he says, most other countries have an airline passenger bill of rights.

    “If there’s a delay, you get a meal. If there’s a cancelation, you get a hotel, and there’s no discussion. They are mandated to do it by the government,” McGee said.

    Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced similar legislation earlier this year.

    “Better protection against these unnecessary cancelation and delays,” Blumenthal said.

    He said he believes if it doesn’t pass, there will be many more days like this at the airport.

    “The airline lobby has a lot of sway in our nation’s capital, but we have a lot of people on our side and the longer they’re waiting right now at the gates to take off, the angrier they’re going to be,” Blumenthal said.

    The Port Authority is advising travelers to check the status of their flight with their air carrier before heading to the airport, but that tip doesn’t help those catching connecting flights, like Liz Gillatt, who said she has already missed three days of her Tokyo vacation.

    “First, something was broken. Then, we got into another plane. Then, it started raining. Then, we got off and it was canceled,” said Gillatt, of Washington D.C.

    The misery appears far from over. With more rain expected in the coming days, perhaps extending into the weekend, a lot of these travelers may not be flying out until Friday.



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