By Desirée Taylor
Finally, some sunshine at Newark Liberty International Airport. Planes taking off, trying to catch up after yesterday’s powerful nor’easter grounded more than 700 flights in Newark. But hundreds of flights remained canceled or delayed.
“Everyone’s flights were cancelled, the whole team I was with got cancelled. Everyone had to sleepover and find accommodations and finally got out today,” said Chris Kerr
“I’ve got the day in the airport. My plans were with my wife tonight, a Valentine’s dinner but I’m going to get in a little late for that,” said David Hill.
“The irony to this is that we had actually delayed our trip one day due to a snowstorm in Portland and then we got snowed in here. So we were trying to get ahead of that storm or behind that storma and now we are in the middle of this storm,” said Nancy Patton
As of 5 p.m. yesterday, Newark had logged 710 grounded flights. Compare that to JFK with 443 and Laguardia with 888, according to the Port Authority. By 9 a.m., the tote boards showed some improvement with cancellations at Newark down to 272, 139 at Laguardia and just 41 at Kennedy, according to flightaware.com.
Schedules remained chaotic, as ticket agents and travel consultants — like Carol Piscitelli — struggled to book stranded passengers on to other flights.
“When the flight’s canceled, I have to re-book them on flights. Sometimes back them up on other flights. If that flight they’re on gets canceled, I now have the backup flight, run the ticket and they’re all set,” Piscitelli said.
Piscitelli says many passengers avoided travel headaches by utilizing airline waivers, which allowed them to change flights before the storm hit.
“This waivers that the put out are major and it’s social media. If you go on Facebook, we will post our waivers out and tweet our waivers out so this social media helped tremendously in these snowstorms,” Piscitelli said.
But with so many storms this winter, the airline industry’s looking at one of the worst years in terms of cancellations. Add to that, Newark Airport’s dubious distinction for ranking last in the nation for on-time arrivals — even when the weather’s clear.
“It does have the most delays, but that’s going to be with any storm. I think they do a good job in weather like this. They clean those runways and try to get people in and out,” Piscitelli said.
“in the winter you try to take a lot of risks as far as time tables,” said Kerr
But some travelers might not catch a flight out until the weekend.