CBSN

New York City's JFK International Airport struggles to recover after winter storm

NEW YORK -- Travelers' patience wore thin at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport Sunday as long delays and compounding cancellations continued several days after a major winter storm battered the city, CBS New York reports. Strangers huddled for warmth as fellow travelers were confused, frustrated or downright outraged after spending yet another night at the airport.

"I'm so angry words can't even express how I feel right now," Bill Carver from Austin, Texas, said.

Tensions ran high as thousands shared horror stories. One group managed to forage cardboard and build ramshackle "neighborhoods." Others were stuck on dark planes on the tarmac for upwards of a day, waiting to deplane or even take off.

"I was on the plane for a good 20 hours," frustrated traveler Michelle Lopez said. "They took us out once to eat, then we went back to the plane."

Dimitri Grigoryev said he's been stuck at the airport for three days. "This is the third day, starting now," he said. "There are 300 passengers there and I should say they're becoming restless."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says there aren't enough gates to handle the backlog of rescheduled flights since Thursday's snowstorm forced the cancellation of thousands. Additional staff were called in Saturday night to help.

On Saturday, there were 94 cancelled flights according to the Port Authority. Baggage was another issue entirely. 

 "We got to this airport at 4 in the morning," passenger Rachel Greene said. "We've been waiting for our luggage since then. They say it's coming, but it's not coming."

The Federal Aviation Administration was forced to limit some flights into the airport last night, including all incoming into Terminal 1. Greene said she's never seen anything like it. "It makes me not want to fly anywhere and definitely not out of JFK," she said.

The Port Authority blames the ongoing issues on the bitter temperatures which have blanketed much of the area of late.

"JFK's runways and taxiways are fully operational," the Port Authority said in a statement Sunday. "Airlines remain in recovery mode, rebooking passengers from canceled flights and reuniting passengers with their luggage. Frigid temperatures continue to cause equipment failures and slower than normal operations. Customers may experience residual delays, particularly for international flights."

Officials have not provided a timeline for when things will return to normal. In the meantime, passengers are urged to reach out to their individual airlines for any changes in flight schedules.