NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hours before a deep freeze moved in, flights in and out of the New York City area had already been disrupted.
JetBlue halted operations at all three major New York-area airports and in Boston in an effort to catch up with dozens of weather-related delays and cancellations.
The airline announced Monday that operations stopped entirely at Newark, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports and at Boston’s Logan International Airport at 5 p.m.
The plan allows 17 hours for the company to rest crew and time to service aircraft.
As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, stranded travelers had nowhere to go and nothing to do Monday but wait and sleep in airport terminals.
JetBlue customer Julia Moron has been desperately trying to get home to Houston for days.
“I’ve been stuck here between JFK and now LaGuardia since Thursday,” she said.
She had spent the four days since sleeping at baggage claim and motels, trying to find a way home to Houston. She was hoping Tuesday would be her lucky day.
“I was able last night at JFK at 2 in the morning to go to the American Airlines counter, and they were able to find a ticket for tomorrow morning,” Moron said.
Passengers were scrambling trying to make other arrangements.
“I feel so bad, and you know how much the guys gave me a coupon for? Twelve dollars. For 12 dollars,” said Jose Inostroza, of Ecuador, who was also stuck at LaGuardia. “It’s not fair.”
Linda Burkard, of Detroit, added: “Now I can’t get out. They originally told me they can’t get me out until Wednesday or Thursday, and I’m not happy.”
According to a National Weather Service forecast, Tuesday’s high temperature will be 14 degrees — and with winds of about 25 mph expected throughout the day, it’ll feel as cold as -15.
JetBlue traveler Charles Browning, of Orlando, said he’s frustrated that he and his family were stuck at LaGuardia through Monday night.
“We’ve been out here on three different occasions trying to get out of this airport. And it’s not happening,” he told CBS 2’s Sonia Moghe.
Many passengers said JetBlue’s customer service was lacking ahead of the 17-hour shutdown.
A Somerset, N.J., woman went to Newark Airport Monday afternoon even though she knew her flight to Puerto Rico had been canceled.
“For four hours, I tried to call,” she told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “They hung up on me. I tried to rebook on the computer, you could not. So this is my only answer to getting another flight.”
More than 4,000 flights were canceled across the country Monday, and more than 1,300 had already been canceled for Tuesday.
“These industry-wide cancellations, on top of the previous days’ cancellations, have now left millions of air travelers displaced, struggling to find any available seat to get to their destinations,” JetBlue said in a statement.
Operations will begin to ramp up again at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the airline expects to be fully operational by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
JetBlue says if your flight has been canceled, you can rebook your flight or request a refund online.
For more information from JetBlue, click here.
Southwest and United airlines temporarily halted operations in Chicago, where a deep freeze has been hovering with temperatures far below the lows forecast for the Tri-State Area. The official temperature in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Monday hit minus 16, which shattered the record of minus 14 for this date in the Windy City — set in 1988.
Meanwhile, conditions have been so cold that American Airlines says its fuel supplies are frozen.
“American will have minimal operations today in Chicago and in other cities in the Midwest and Northeast,” spokesperson Kent Powell said in a statement to CBS 2. “We have already canceled more than 900 flights today (mainline and regional), with more to come.”
American Airlines says it’s offering travelers the option to change their flights without penalty if traveling to, through or from certain airports.
For more information from American Airlines, click here.
Meanwhile, Delta says it’s keeping normal operations. As of 5 p.m., it has canceled 50 flights at LaGuardia and 20 at JFK, Moghe reported.
Browning said that’s frustrating.
“I’m sitting out there watching airplanes take off and land,” he said. “So it doesn’t make sense to me, why are they so cautious and the other airlines are flying?”
American Airlines passenger Jerome Jacobs said the grass is always greener on the other side. He’s dealt with repeated delays since Sunday.
“It would have been better (to have his flight canceled) because I could have stayed home and come in tomorrow,” instead of waiting and hoping to take off, he told Moghe.
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