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Cailey Rizzo
January 08, 2018

New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport has been plagued by a series of incidents, errors, and mishaps over the past few days, delaying passengers, rerouting flights, and causing overall frustration.

Trouble began last week with the bomb cyclone’s arrival on the East Coast. Winter Storm Grayson canceled thousands of flights to the metropolitan airport. More than five days after the storm’s initial impact, the airport has still not recovered. The executive director of New York’s Port Authority said in a statement that the weekend’s incidents are “unacceptable, and travelers expect and deserve better.”

As of Monday morning, flights from the airport are delayed by an average of 31 minutes, according to FlightAware.

Some trace the start of the airport’s woes to last Thursday when JFK shut down during Grayson’s impact. The airport expected to reopen later that day, but the reopening was pushed back several times to Friday morning. However, during that time, international flights had already left their origin airport. Flights were diverted across the country (going as far west as Chicago) and some returned to their origins to accommodate JFK’s closure.

The flights from the previous day all attempted to land at JFK on Friday, on top of the flights that were already scheduled. (One extreme case was a flight that had to wait seven hours on the tarmac to receive a gate.) This created a backlog of flights from which the airport is still trying to recover.

Problems continued well into the weekend. Early Saturday morning, two airplanes collided on the tarmac. There were no injuries, but the incident caused hundreds of additional flight delays that day. And on Sunday, a water main break flooded the airport’s Terminal 4 baggage claim. The baggage area had been filled with rows of unclaimed suitcases from the previous days’ flights.

“While the water pipe break that occurred appears to be weather-related, we have launched an investigation into the incident to determine exactly what occurred and why an internal pipe was not weather protected and whether any other failures contributed to this disruption,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement on Sunday.

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Frustrated passengers continued to tweet to the airport, complaining of hours-long delays at customs, being stranded for more than 40 hours and waiting for hours for baggage to arrive without explanation.

Early Monday morning, the airport tweeted that there “may be delays” throughout the day and that travelers should contact their airline for more information.

Any travelers passing through the airport over the next few days should allow extra time to pass through security. Collecting baggage at the carousel could take particularly long as the airport sorts out the remainder of its baggage issues.

The weather in New York City will warm to 35 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, continuing up to a high of 44 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, according to The Weather Channel. The warm weather should melt snow that has trapped service vehicles at the airport.

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