FLIGHT DELAYS: Seething Travelers Report 'Utter Hell' At Newark Airport

The strain of a 34-day partial government shutdown is weighing on the nation's air-travel system

The FAA issued a statement saying: "We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities".

All the flights being delayed are going to or coming from LaGuardia. Some arriving flights are also being delayed; the FAA reports an average of 41 minute delays for LaGuardia-bound flights out of Newark International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. There were also gate hold and taxi delays between 15 minutes and 29 minutes in length at the airport.

Maria Valdes had to wait at JAX for her high school classmate, who she hadn't seen in 37 years, to arrive.

"I would do it all over again".

"We are preparing a stranded passenger plan for this weekend", Kerlik said. "She is a sister".

At least one traveler tweeted that she was sitting on the tarmac for almost an hour because of "staff shortages in air traffic control". News4Jax was told the tower at JAX is normally staffed.

Martin said Friday that it had augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed.

"NATCA does not condone or endorse any federal employees participating in or endorsing a coordinated activity that negatively affects the capacity of the National Airspace System or other activities that undermine the professional image and reputation of the men and women we represent", Rinaldi said. "We remain grateful to the air traffic controllers, technicians and inspectors for their continued professionalism and dedication to their safety mission".

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"I don't know how long we're going to be able to last or if anybody is going to be able to last that's not receiving their pay", said Mariedith, Scott's wife.

The controllers aren't counting the days since the government shutdown began. "This shutdown has caused a tremendous amount of added stress for them on top of what is already a hard and stressful job". That strike, however, set a rough precedent for any inkling of one today: Reagan fired 11,500 controllers and banned them from federal employment for life, citing a law that prohibits strikes by federal workers.

The Transportation Security Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has had increased absences from workers, who have called in sick or said they can not afford to commute to their jobs given the lack of pay.

At Pearson airport in Toronto, at least 12 flights to the U.S by Air Canada, American, West Jet, and Delta were delayed by noon Friday, and another 7 cancelled. As of 11:00 a.m, however, the website was still showing the closure as being in effect.

Airlines reacted cautiously to Friday's disruptions, trying to avoid alarming their customers.

The FAA said travel delays Friday morning were caused by staffing shortages at two facilities handling air traffic control in Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida.

Brad Cicero, a spokesman for Toronto-based Porter Airlines, said the carrier is seeing only "minor" delays on its Newark flights, but those are because of weather or wind conditions.

U.S. lawmakers and the White House faced intensifying pressure Friday to resolve a five-week impasse and reopen government, as the political stalemate has begun to affect the nation's busy airports.



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