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Sen. Schumer To DOT: Press Foreign Airlines To Work Better With JFK Airport

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- 11 days after the recent winter storm, there are still travellers waiting to be reunited with their luggage from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a federal case out of the chaos. The New York Democrat wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation, calling on federal officials to urge foreign airlines to work better with the operators of JFK Airport after the winter weather woes cascaded into days of cancellations and delays.

Five days ago, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey put its figurative foot down about the sea of luggage stranded at the airport, saying in part, "we share the public's outrage and have directed the airlines to have all bags out of JFK and on their way to customers by day's end."

Five days later, Waterbury, Connecticut resident Michael Torres is still waiting for his suitcase.

"It's been kind of disappointing and extremely frustrating," he told CBS2's Tony Aiello. Torres says his bag has many of his work clothes and gifts he purchased during two weeks in the United Kingdom.


New York's senior senator on Monday said it's ridiculous Torres and other travellers are going through this.

"I cannot recall, in all the years I've been a New Yorker, JFK to be that messed up," Schumer said, blaming carriers who flew into the airport after the storm without confirming they'd have a gate to park and unload. The chaos caused delays and cancellations, and gummed up the baggage handling works.

Schumer says he wants the DOT to act.

"Foreign airlines are simply not required to have the same level of cooperation, coordination, and communication with ground control," Schumer said. "That has to change, that's what we're asking the DOT to change right now."

The Port Authority says it's moving quickly to make sure the airport nightmare doesn't happen again. They've hired a high-powered Washington law firm to investigated the mess and report back what they find.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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