WBEZ | flight delays http://www.wbez.org/tags/flight-delays Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Flight delays pile up Monday after FAA budget cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780 <p><p>NEW YORK &mdash; It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers. Flight delays piled up all along the East Coast Monday as thousands of air traffic controllers were forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts.</p><p>Some flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington were delayed by more than two hours as the Federal Aviation Administration kept planes on the ground because there weren&#39;t enough controllers to monitor busy air corridors.</p><p>One out of every five flights at New York&#39;s LaGuardia International scheduled to take off before noon on Monday was delayed 15 minutes or more, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Last Monday morning, just 2 percent of LaGuardia&#39;s flights were delayed. The situation was similar at Washington&#39;s Reagan National Airport, in Newark, N.J. and in Philadelphia.</p><p>Some flights were late by two hours or more.</p><p>For instance, the 8 a.m. US Airways shuttle from Washington to New York pushed back from the gate six minutes early but didn&#39;t take off until 9:58 a.m. The plane landed at 10:48 a.m. &mdash; more than two and a half hours late.</p><p>If travelers instead took Amtrak&#39;s 8 a.m. Acela Express train from Washington, they arrived in New York at 10:42 a.m. &mdash; 4 minutes early.</p><p>The furloughs are part of mandatory budget cuts that kicked in on March 1 after Democrats and Republicans missed a deadline to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan.</p><p>FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.</p><p>Critics have said the FAA could reduce its budget in other spots that wouldn&#39;t delay travelers.</p><p>Monday is typically one of the busiest days at airports with many business travelers setting out for a week on the road. The FAA&#39;s controller cuts &mdash; a 10 percent reduction of its staff &mdash; went into effect Sunday but the full force wasn&#39;t felt until Monday morning.</p><p>Some travel groups have warned that the disruptions could hurt the economy.</p><p>&quot;If these disruptions unfold as predicted, business travelers will stay home, severely impacting not only the travel industry but the economy overall,&quot; the Global Business Travel Association warned the head of the FAA, Michael P. Huerta, in a letter Friday.</p><p>Deborah Seymour was one of the first fliers to face the headaches.</p><p>She was supposed to fly from Los Angles to Tucson, Ariz., Sunday night. First her 9:55 p.m. flight was delayed four hours. Then at 2 a.m., Southwest Airlines canceled it.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s pretty discouraging that Congress can&#39;t get it together and now it&#39;s reached the point that we can&#39;t get on an airplane and fly,&quot; Seymour said.</p><p>One thing working in fliers&#39; favor Monday was relatively good weather at most of the country&#39;s major airports. A few wind gusts in New York added to some delays, but generally there were clear skies and no major storms.</p><p>Delta Air Lines said it was &quot;disappointed&quot; in the furloughs and warned travelers Monday to expect delays in the following cities: New York, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.</p><p>Many flights heading to Florida were seeing delays of up to an hour.</p><p>Raymond Adams, president of the air traffic controllers union at New Jersey&#39;s Newark airport, said on Twitter than a few flights out of Newark to the south got sent back to Newark because the Washington area air traffic control system was overwhelmed.</p><p>The FAA has also furloughed other critical employees including airline and airport safety inspectors.</p><p>The country&#39;s airlines and some lawmakers have suggested the White House is causing misery for fliers to put pressure on Republicans in Congress to rescind the cuts. They say the FAA is ignoring other ways to cut its $16 billion budget. Two airline trade associations and the nation&#39;s largest pilots union filed a lawsuit Friday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to halt the furloughs. No hearing date has been set.</p><p>In a letter to the FAA Friday, Delta&#39;s general counsel Ben Hirst asked the agency to reconsider the furloughs, saying it could make the cuts elsewhere and could transfer funds from &quot;non-safety activities&quot; to support the FAA&#39;s &quot;core mission of efficiently managing the nation&#39;s airspace.&quot;</p><p>__</p><p>With reports from Joan Lowy in Washington and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles.</p><p>__</p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780 Computer glitch disrupts, delays United Airlines http://www.wbez.org/story/computer-glitch-disrupts-delays-united-airlines-88021 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-17/United Airlines jet_Flickr_iambents.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 9:00am, 06/18/11</em></p><p>It could take several days for thousands of stranded travelers to get home after a United Airlines computer system shut down for several hours, leading to widespread cancelations Friday night.&nbsp;</p><p>The unspecified "network connectivity" problem was fixed and flights resumed early Saturday, but the airline said delays could persist throughout the weekend. Also, with flights nearly full, there was little room for passengers whose flights had been cancelled to rebook.</p><p>"There's literally nowhere to put them," airline analyst Robert Mann said. "There are already very few empty seats on the flights that operate."</p><p>United's planes were an average of 86.8 percent full in May.</p><p>To try to alleviate the congestion, the airline allowed passengers with tickets on Saturday flights to cancel or delay their travel to a later date without charge. Luckily, Saturday is one of the lighter travel days.</p><p><strong>Outage began Friday evening, left passengers in limbo</strong></p><p>The outage started about 7:15 p.m. CDT Friday and lasted for about five hours. Long lines of passengers formed at airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago. Some passengers ended up spending the night at airports or found hotel rooms in the cities where they were stranded.</p><p>United said its flight departures, airport processing and reservation system, including its website, were affected by the outage.</p><p>United didn't say how many passengers or flights were affected. But Los Angeles International Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said the outage affected about 2,500 people at that airport alone.</p><p>Nina and Mark Whitford of Brockville, Ontario, ended up in Chicago while on a layover on their flight home from Minneapolis. They said they were headed to a hotel to spend the night and were dismayed when an airline worker told them they would have to mail in their hotel receipt to get reimbursed.</p><p>"We've been waiting here for about two hours for our baggage, and nothing's come," said Nina Whitford, 35.</p><p>She said several people were still at the airport around 1 a.m. CDT Saturday, and others on their flight had rented cars to complete their trip to Canada.</p><p>"Some people were sleeping and some people were getting very angry because no one was giving us any answers," she said.</p><p>Ron Schaffer, an Apple Inc. engineer, was trying to connect with a flight to Grand Junction, Colo., after flying into Denver from Orlando, Fla.</p><p>"A hundred yards of kiosks, and every one of them closed," he said, adding there were no flights listed on monitors. "Workers were trying to answer questions. They have no ability to do anything manually. They can't check baggage. You can't get baggage. You are really stuck."</p><p>Some Continental Airlines passengers also were affected by the outage.</p><p>United and Continental merged in May 2010. They still operate as separate airlines but are slowly integrating systems. United spokesman Charles Hobart said Saturday morning that Continental was able to dispatch flights normally, but some of its airport kiosks were affected. He would not comment on the total number of cancelations or passengers affected, saying the airline was still updating its information.</p><p><strong>Use of computerized systems has increased</strong></p><p>Airlines today place greater reliance on computers than a decade ago. Most passengers are now asked to check-in online, at airport kiosks or via their mobile phones. When the system crashes, the problems are just that much greater.</p><p>"They're infrequent, but the fact that they happen at all is puzzling. These are mission critical," Mann said. "The idea that they would fail is troubling."</p><p>While the airlines have sleek, modern check-in kiosks at the airports, the underlying reservation system behind them dates back to the 1980s, Mann said. Many airlines that went through bankruptcies in the past decade, including United, didn't invest in new systems.</p><p>When the system fails, flight plans and dispatch operations must all be done on paper.</p><p>"There are fewer and fewer people at airlines who are familiar with or able to operate with a manual system," Mann said.</p><p>At the San Francisco International Airport, hundreds of passengers stood shoulder-to-shoulder.</p><p>Still, some people took the delays in stride.</p><p>Steve Cole, 51, of Bloxwich, England, was at the San Francisco airport waiting for a flight to Las Vegas.</p><p>"These are the things you have to expect when you're on holiday." Cole said. "I'm missing a night of gambling," he added with a grin.</p><p>___</p><p>Associated Press writers Scott Mayerowitz in New York, John S. Marshall in San Francisco and Denise Petski in Los Angeles and photographers Rick Bower in Denver and Charles Rex Arbogast in Chicago contributed to this report.</p></p> Sat, 18 Jun 2011 03:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/computer-glitch-disrupts-delays-united-airlines-88021