While the polar vortex brought a brief chill to Manatee County, flights stuck in their own schedule vortex at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport should be resuming normal schedules Wednesday.
By Tuesday afternoon, flights to New York’s two major airports, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International were canceled along with flights to Chicago’s O’Hare and Boston Logan International, but a sign of normalcy showed on the schedule board when JetBlue’s La Guardia flight showed as on time at 5:23 p.m.
“It appears that the worst is over,” said Frederick “Rick” Piccolo, chief executive officer and president of SRQ airport. “This one’s been pretty bad. We’ve seen a lot more cancelations this week than we’ve seen for a few years. It’s been significant through the whole system.”
JetBlue temporarily halted all flights to Boston, New York through Tuesday morning because of a combination of crew rest requirements and a back log of flights that were delayed and canceled from the weekend. New rules took effect Saturday that require more rest for flight crew where pilots have to have eight uninterrupted hours of rest and 10 hours total of rest between shifts, plus 30 hours in a row of rest each week.
United also reduced its schedule because of the freezing weather at O’Hare, the airline announced in Twitter, and is offering waivers for change fees and fare differences for flights affected Jan. 2 through today for travel expected to resume by Saturday.
Also, sometimes airlines experiences such a long list of delays and cancellations that the system is reset to start over again, thus needing the suspension of flights, Piccolo said. Flights to Atlanta, Charlotte and Toronto were not affected by the massive delays on Tuesday at SRQ.
The scene at SRQ wasn’t like ones shown on national news featuring people sleeping anywhere they could find space. The airport is an origination and destination airport instead of a hub where people would be stuck in transit, and boarding passes weren’t issued for most passengers for their canceled flights, Piccolo said.
“We’re seeing some people come to the airport because they’re trying to get their schedule fixed, but by and large, we’re not seeing large crowds here,” he said.
Some travelers decided to opt for the ticket counter at SRQ for the short lines instead of waiting on hold to rebook flights or battle with the airlines’ websites, he added.
Piccolo encouraged travelers to check with their airlines to see what options they have and for updated flight information. JetBlue has a round-up of travel advice and options for passengers at blog.jetblue.com.
At Tampa International Airport on Monday, 50 flights were canceled and 155 flights were delayed due to the frigid weather hitting the Northeast, according to airport officials.
You can check the status of flights at SRQ at http://www.srq-airport.com/
At Tampa International, http://www.tampaairport.com/flights/