COVID-19, Bad Northern Weather Create Travel Hassle At South Florida Airports

Airlines say a combination of bad weather up north and COVID-19 infections are teaming up to increase the misery index for passengers

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As COVID-19 concerns sweep through the nation and bad weather travels up north, flight cancelations and delays have been reported at South Florida airports.

On Monday, less than half of passengers nationwide made it to their destinations within four hours of the scheduled arrival times.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, there had been 44 flights canceled at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, with 117 flights delayed. 

At Miami International Airport, there were 23 cancelations along with 164 delays, down from the 236 delays and 45 cancelations there on Monday.

But if it's your flight that’s canceled, the scramble to rearrange plans is immediate and stressful. 

“My wife had already gone to bed and I didn’t want to wake her up so I just had to, on the fly, check what’s available," said Sandipan Bannerjee, who was trying to get home to Philadelphia after Spirit canceled his flight from Miami late Monday night. 

"I’m lucky I got an affordable ticket with American at that point, but at the last minute you never know, it’s always crazy high prices, right?”

COVID-19 is also taking a toll on flight crews.

At MIA, 11 flights on Tuesday were canceled and twelve delayed specifically because of flight crew shortages. The airlines have welcomed the new CDC policy allowing infected workers to come back to work after five days, if they test negative, rather than ten days.

The flight attendants’ union, however, is not confident the new guidelines will work. 

“We know some people would be forced to come back to work while they’re still sick,” said Sara Nelson, the union president. 

We asked flyers today if they were wary of flying during this stage of the pandemic.

“Not really, [] we’re all vaccinated and boosted and so we took all our precautions so I feel confident,” said Tehesha Stegall, who was flying to Missouri and said she had experienced no delays.

“It’s actually been running very smoothly, we got here about four hours early just to be sure, but so far everything’s been running smoothly like clockwork.”

If they’re at the airport, they’ve already made the decision to fly, but some are better than others at shrugging off their concerns.

“There’s always fears, you know?” said Nicole Brown, punctuating her words with nervous laughter. “Always fears, always fears.”

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