Flooding at JFK airport worsens travel delays

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There was more misery for those trying to get through JFK Airport in New York Sunday as a water main break forced the closure of Terminal 4 and took with it 38 gates, majority used for worldwide flights.

"Passengers who have already arrived are being deplaned and taken to other terminals for processing", the spokesman said in a statement.

For global travelers, the chaos at JFK was intense: long-haul flights arrived in the airport only to sit on taxiways for hours due to a lack of available gates.

The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which oversees New York's airports, said airlines were rescheduling passengers but that near-record cold temperatures were adversely affecting equipment, further slowing the airport's recovery.

More than 7,000 flights were canceled because of the storm, a costly headache for airlines that were dealt a string of hurricanes in 2017, as well as for passengers who were stranded overseas after their flights were canceled.

"The winter storm has severely disabled equipment, resulting in terminal operators and airlines experiencing delays in getting planes and their passengers into their gates", said an official statement from the Port Authority, which manages all three of the major airports serving New York City.

It was just one of a series of issues facing New York's principal global airport over the weekend as bitter cold gripped the North East of the United States.

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While all runways and taxiways had been ploughed clear of snow and reopened by Sunday, inbound flights faced 21/2-hour delays as the federal and local authorities carefully managed the flow of traffic at New York City's main worldwide travel gateway, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration's website.

"My son and others had to pay for a taxi back to the hotel where they were told that if they wished, they could have a refund for their flight and could try to get on another flight".

"I'm trying to go back to Sao Paulo since yesterday, and I'm still in the airport, sitting on the ground", she said. "My son checked and the cheapest flight back, if indeed one was going, was £2,000 plus pounds".

Meanwhile, Jan Coates told The Independent: "Some of our family are just back from a fabulous holiday in NY over New Year".

The storm Thursday forced temporary closure of the airport. My husband and I flew out after a delay of six hours on a Virgin flight to Heathrow.

Independent travel correspondent Simon Calder advised those stuck in NY during the storm: "Airlines have a clear and unlimited obligation to provide a hotel room and all meals, as well as transport to and from the airport, until they can get you home". The Port Authority owns and operates JFK, although private companies and airlines run the terminals.

Meanwhile 38 of the scheduled departing flight between 6am and 11.59am are now delayed, and a further nine have been cancelled.