Major airports across the U.S. northeast slowly got back to normal Tuesday after blizzard conditions blanketed much of the region, leaving thousands of passengers stranded since the holiday weekend. "With all the cancellations and delays, it’ll be two to three days before the airlines are at a regular schedule," said Thomas Bosco, general manager of New York’s LaGuardia airport.
According to CNN, officials say they expect 100 flights operating at LaGuardia between 6 a.m. and noon Tuesday. The airport would typically handle some 70 flights an hour.
John F. Kennedy Airport, in the New York City borough of Queens, and Newark Liberty International, in northern New Jersey, opened to incoming and departing traffic at 6 p.m. Monday, Port Authority spokeswoman Sara Joren said.
AirTran spokesman Christopher White said his airline didn’t plan any more cancellations Tuesday after dropping 81 flights on Monday. Instead, White said, AirTran planned to operate additional flights out of LaGuardia, Boston’s Logan Airport and White Plains, New York’s Westchester County Airport to get people home.
But the slow recovery left many passengers anxious to get home.
The storm that has unnerved domestic and international travelers produced blinding snow and wreaked havoc from the Carolinas to Maine. By Monday night, more than 4,155 flights had been cancelled, up to 32 inches of snow piled up in areas and wind gusts blew as strong as 80 mph.
The federal Transportation Security Administration was coordinating with airports and airlines to bolster staffing as necessary when flights resumed, according to spokeswoman Sterling Payne.
Authorities at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport are investigating an incident that occurred Tuesday morning when the wingtips of two US Airways planes touched during de-icing, according to airline spokesman Tina Swail. Both planes returned to the gate and were undergoing inspection, she said.
Stranded travelers in New York slept on cots and atop luggage carousels Sunday night, while less fortunate people bedded down on airport floors. Stranded travelers who tried to call airline representatives to reschedule flights said getting in touch with a live human being proved difficult.