Watch CBS News

Lack Of Available Gates Leads To Major Delays At JFK Airport

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It was a rough day at John F. Kennedy International Airport, after two planes clipped one another and passengers complained of extensive delays and seemingly endless taxiing in the wake of Thursday's winter blast.

The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association said the right wing tip of a China Southern aircraft struck the tail end of a Kuwait Airways plane, causing damage to both aircraft near Terminal 4 around midnight.

Officials said passengers aboard the Kuwait Airways aircraft were deplaned without incident. The China Southern 777 had no passengers on board at the time of the collision, according to the Port Authority.

Meanwhile, passengers at JFK unleashed fury on social media, some claiming they had been stranded for up to 20 hours without answers.

Passengers posted videos and photos of people standing and sitting in front of airline ticket counters demanding answers Saturday morning.

"Everyone video this, because we need answers," one woman could be heard directing her fellow passengers in front of a ticket terminal.

Others tweeted that their flight landed "hours ago" but they were still stuck on board in the dark without food or water.

As CBS2's Erin Logan reported, the long lines, missing bags and waiting around continued Saturday night. 

Mazen Youseff had been stuck at the airport since the middle of the storm, trying to travel back home to Cairo, Egypt.

"I don't have clothes even to change my clothes," he told Logan.

As frustrated as he was, he said he had to remain calm for his family.

"I have a family of five, so I have three kids with me," he said. "We have not even been offered hotel, even transportation. We pay for the hotel ourselves."

Omar El Nahas described the experience as "very miserable."

"We know it's difficult, we know it's out of their hands, but after all there needs to be some crisis management," he said.

As the hours passed, it started to look like a Saturday night slumber party inside the airport, Logan reported.

"Found some cardboard, it's real nice. We call these 'neighborhoods,'" said Bill Carver, of Austin, Texas, who watched neighbors come and go from his cardboard bed for the past two nights, while he waited to board his Sunday morning flight.

The Port Authority released a statement Saturday afternoon, saying they're "working diligently with the FAA, airlines, and individual terminal operators to limit the arrival of flights into JFK Airport until there are adequate gates available to handle the backlog of flights due to recovery of flights in the wake of Thursday's storm."

A second statement said the Port Authority "deployed additional staff to assist travelers and will continue to offer buses to bring passengers experiencing delays back to the terminals" and "intends to aggressively review with its partners, the terminal operators and airlines, the process to assure that planes and passengers get to their gates during the surge of rescheduled flights that follow a severe weather event."

Still, passengers told Logan that being stuck on dark planes on the tarmac was just unacceptable.

"We were on the plane for a good 20 hours. They took us out once to eat, and then we went back on the plane," said Michelle Lopez.

"It's awful. I've never seen anything like this," Rachel Greene said. "It makes me not want to fly anywhere."

"This is the worst ending to the holiday season here in New York," one man said.

"I am so angry. Words can't even express how I feel right now," a woman added.

As CBS News Correspondent Kris Van Cleave reported, the backlog is focused primarily at JFK's international terminals, where there were more aircraft than available gates and support staff Saturday. As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), instructing foreign airlines to call the airport before departure to confirm there will be gate space upon arrival to JFK.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.