Sunday, December 27, 2015

Air traffic misery after Texas storms

AUSTIN (KXAN) – At least a dozen flights out of Austin were cancelled Sunday after severe storms hit much of the state.

An American Airlines spokesman said of their eleven cancellations from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, two were headed to Chicago O’Hare Airport and nine were headed to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Weather has been a major problem with a line of strong storms stretching from Texas to the Midwest. More bad weather appears to be on the way.

Southwest Airlines also had two cancellations on Sunday. One flight was bound for Lubbock, where forecasters expect blizzard conditions.

Storms on Saturday in North Texas shut down DFW. American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein told KXAN at one point 60 flights were diverted from DFW. Feinstein said 17 of those jets went to Austin.

For passengers it was a frustrating, especially following the Christmas holiday. Some turned to social media to vent their frustration.

Several passengers wrote into KXAN’s ReportIt and called saying their flights were delayed for hours. One passenger also claimed they were on the tarmac for more than 6 hours. Neither ABIA officials nor the airlines confirmed such a long stay on the tarmac.

Most airlines avoid such lengthy tarmac delays since the implementation of what is known as the passenger’s bill of rights. Airlines can face heavy fines if passengers are kept on an airplane for extended periods of time. When that rule took effect in 2010, the number of  extended delays on the tarmac dropped from 664 between May 2009 and February 2010 to 16 between May 2010 and February 2011.


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