Days After storm, Travelers Still Facing Airport Backlog - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Days After storm, Travelers Still Facing Airport Backlog

NEW YORK — Airports trying to shepherd a backlog of planes churned snow plows through the night, kept snack bars open late and scrubbed teeming terminals ceaselessly in an effort to return thousands of passengers stranded by a weekend snowstorm to their homes.

By morning, most flights at New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport were taking off and landing as scheduled. Continental Airlines said on its website that its hub there was nearly normal but that some cancellations and delays remained.

In snowbound neighborhoods in New York, where hundreds of buses and dozens of ambulances got stuck in the snowdrifts, unplowed roads still hampered bus service Wednesday morning. Officials, while making no promises, had said they hoped to have streets cleared by later in the day.

"It's a bad situation and we're working together to correct it," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Some 1,000 vehicles had been removed from three major New York City-area expressways alone, the mayor said.

General delays were reported Wednesday morning at New York's Kennedy airport, where at least three airliners — two Cathay Pacific planes and a British Airways plane — were stuck for more than seven hours Tuesday while they waited for an open gate.

Story: Stuck on the tarmac: Headaches begin at landing

More than 5,000 flights were canceled at the three main airports in New York — 1,000 on Tuesday alone — after the storm dumped 20 inches over a 17-hour period on Sunday and Monday.

On Tuesday night the airport remained filled with passengers on cell phones and laptops, trying to rebook flights, make hotel reservations or figure out alternate plans. Lines at counters for rental cars, ground transportation and lost luggage remained long throughout the day.

'Waiting for more bad news'
Airlines were dispatching planes to JFK without lining up gate space first, causing backups on the ground, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.

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