NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Chaos ruled the night at LaGuardia Airport on Friday, with massive traffic buildups delaying passengers for hours on end.
It came on the heels of a crippling pre-winter snowstorm that wreaked havoc on roads and transit systems across New York City, and offered an ominous start to the holiday travel season.
Most people would expect a bit of traffic outside any airport, especially LaGuardia, on the Friday before Thanksgiving, but an abundance of rescheduled flights from Thursday’s storm plus the airport’s ongoing construction projects created a perfect storm of gridlock and congestion.
A cacophony of horns was the soundtrack to a parade of people running with luggage in tow to make it to their gates on time. Buses were dropping passengers off blocks away from the 94th Street entrance.
CBS2’s crew even caught a pilot who made a run for it, saying he couldn’t stay in his car any longer or he’d be late for his flight. For many, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic felt like deja vu all over again.
“I’ve been trying to get through this last mile for an hour and a half, and there’s a quarter mile left, and my GPS just keeps adding two minutes,” driver Daniel McDuffy said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated about a quarter of Thursday’s flights were cancelled due to the inclement weather. In response, they put 30 traffic agents outside LaGuardia, far more than normal.
After two days of abnormally heavy traffic, a flight out of town sounded mighty appealing for many.
“It’d obviously be nice if we could get to the airport without having to cut across several lanes of traffic,” one traveller said, while another chalked it up to just being “another day in New York.”
A spokesperson for the Port Authority told CBS2’s Ali Bauman that other than adding more traffic agents, there wasn’t much else they could do to move so many people along.