PBIA sees over 3-hour delays Monday as holiday travel woes continue nationwide

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Travelers at Palm Beach International Airport saw average delays of about three and a half hours Monday afternoon as people hoping to get back on track after a holiday weekend of flight cancellations and delays faced another round of disappointment.

The delays at PBIA forced the Federal Aviation Administration to put the airport under a ground delay Monday.

Overall nationally, more than 1,000 U.S. flights were canceled and more than 3,700 were delayed, by midafternoon, according to FlightAware, which tracks flight status in real-time. Those are flights within, to and from the U.S. across all airlines.

Travelers check in with American Airlines at Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday, ahead of the holidays.
Travelers check in with American Airlines at Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday, ahead of the holidays.

Both PBIA and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had significant disruptions Monday.

The website FlightAware reported 13 departing flights canceled at PBIA as of Monday afternoon, along with 10 canceled arriving flights. More than 20 departing flights and 40 arriving flights were delayed.

In Fort Lauderdale, airlines canceled 14 departing flights and 16 arrivals. The airport had 45 delayed departures and 53 delayed arrivals.

According to an alert from the FAA, departures to PBIA were delayed an average of 217 minutes (three hours, 37 minutes). Delays were caused because of heavy air traffic, with several airplanes forced to fly in and out of the region. The heavy volume was because of the increased travel of the season, according to an FAA spokesperson.

Travelers pass through security at Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday, ahead of the holidays.
Travelers pass through security at Palm Beach International Airport Wednesday, ahead of the holidays.

Delta's vice president and Chief of Operations John Laughter said cancellations are a "last resort."

"The result is not only difficult for customers, but for our people who want nothing more than to take care of them — especially over the holidays," Laughter said in a statement. He blamed the ongoing disruptions on "a perfect storm that includes relentless weather systems coupled with the omicron variant surge."

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People wait at New York's  John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 24, 2021, as thousands of flights are cancelled and delayed around the world.
People wait at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 24, 2021, as thousands of flights are cancelled and delayed around the world.

Southwest had the most delays, topping 700, which the airline attributed to "weather challenges" around the country.

SkyWest had the highest number of cancellations among U.S. carriers Monday, with more than 250. In a statement to USA TODAY, the Utah-based airline cited both weather conditions at hubs and "increased COVID cases and quarantines amongst crewmembers" as reasons for the cancellations, adding, "We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to resume normal operations as quickly as possible."

Both the weather and omicron's impact on staffing influenced Delta, United, American and JetBlue flight disruptions over the holiday weekend.

Travelers should check flight status directly with their airline.

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires airlines to offer a refund when they cancel a flight, regardless of the reason or type of ticket purchased. Delays are trickier because while the same rule applies to significant delays, each airline interprets "significant delays" differently.

The Palm Beach Post's Julius Whigham II and USA Today's Bailey Schulz and Dawn Gilberston contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Travel trouble: Flights canceled as weather adds to omicron challenges

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