Alexa

Airlines play huge game of catch-up in NYC area

 A MTA bus is stuck in the middle of Stillwell Ave. in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York,  Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010.  (A...
 A Sanitation Dept. plow truck is stuck on West 16th St. in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York,  Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010...
 A line of travelers wait to enter the security gate in the domestic terminal at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, Dec. 2...
 People walk past an MTA bus stuck in the middle of Stillwell Ave. in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York,  Tuesday, Dec...
 While most residents had cleared yards and sidewalks, many streets remained unplowed in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 28, ...

Winter Weather

A MTA bus is stuck in the middle of Stillwell Ave. in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010. (A...

APTOPIX Winter Weather

A Sanitation Dept. plow truck is stuck on West 16th St. in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010...

Winter Weather

A line of travelers wait to enter the security gate in the domestic terminal at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, Dec. 2...

Winter Weather

People walk past an MTA bus stuck in the middle of Stillwell Ave. in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Dec...

APTOPIX Winter Weather

While most residents had cleared yards and sidewalks, many streets remained unplowed in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, N.Y., Tuesday, Dec. 28, ...

Air, road and rail travelers hampered by a massive snowstorm in the northeastern U.S. were seeing a light at the end of the tunnel Wednesday as snow cleanup progressed and airlines tried to catch up on backlogs.
Officials at the New York area's three major airports said runways were all open Wednesday morning but it might take days for all the passengers who've been camping out in terminals to get flights out.
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 cancelations 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.
The airport remained filled Tuesday night 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.
More than 5,000 flights were canceled at the three main airports in New York _ 1,000 on Tuesday alone.
As airlines struggled to catch up, they dispatched planes to Kennedy 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.
Gigi Godfrey, of Belize, spent 10 hours trapped in a Cathay Pacific plane until the flight was finally able to deplane on Tuesday.
"It was so frustrating, just sitting there for hours, waiting for more bad news," the 24-year-old Godfrey said. She was passing through New York after spending Christmas in Thailand and couldn't remember when she had first boarded a plane.
"I am so tired I don't even know what day yesterday is," she said.
Cathay Pacific spokesman Gus Whitcomb said the planes had taken off under the assumption that they would have somewhere to go upon landing. U.S. airlines operating domestic flights are not allowed to keep passengers waiting on the tarmac for more than three hours, but international flights and foreign airlines are exempt from the rule.
At JFK's Terminal 7, exhausted would-be travelers trapped in the airport for hours _ or in some cases days _ had removed the rope barriers from around a British Airways advertising display touting "new, "roomier business class seats" and were sleeping, stretched out or slumped over, in the model airplane seats.
Airport staffers said a small Starbucks counter that was shuttered Tuesday had yet to reopen after running out of supplies on Sunday. The one remaining vendor, a Subway sandwich shop, had huge lines throughout the day.
In New York, service on trains plagued by snow-generated signal problems and short-circuits was improving but not back to normal days after the storm. The Long Island Rail Road, the country's largest commuter railroad, had only seven of its 11 lines running.
Meanwhile, on the country's west coast, a new winter storm packing rain, snow and powerful winds moved into Southern California on Wednesday. There were no early reports of damage in areas at risk of mudslides.
Authorities in California were keeping a wary eye on Highland in San Bernardino County, where about 50 homes remained evacuated after last week's deluge caused mud to belch from local mountains, overwhelming a drain channel and inundating some homes with feet-deep ooze.
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Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Deepti Hajela, Chris Hawley, Meghan Barr, Samantha Gross, Sara Kugler Frazier and Dave Skretta in New York; Beth DeFalco in Asbury Park, New Jersey; Angela Delli Santi in Trenton, New Jersey; Carla K. Johnson in Chicago; Kate Brumback in Sudbury, Massachusetts; Amanda Lee Myers in Phoenix; AP business writer David Koenig in Dallas; and John Antczak in Los Angeles.


Updated : 2020-11-30 22:01 GMT+08:00