Flight delays pile up today after FAA budget cuts

Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport.
April 22, 2013 7:23:16 PM PDT
Due to the federal budget sequester cuts that went into effect over the weekend; furloughs have begun for 47,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees. That number includes 15,000 air traffic controllers.

The furloughs are beginning to cause flight delays. East coast flights are being hit the hardest. But the ripple effect is being felt all over the country. The FAA says 6,700 flights could be delayed every day.

The delays have left travelers has feeling very confused.

"It says it's on time but then it also says to look out for the three hour delay so I don't really know," said Ellie Dehghan of Santa Monica.

Los Angeles International Airport experienced delays of up to three hours Sunday night. One traveler said he sat on the tarmac for an hour while officials tried to figure out what to do.

Larry Poindexter's fight from San Antonio never made it to Los Angeles. It was diverted to Fresno.

"Then they said that the flight was cancelled and then they voted whether they were going to be able to reroute the plane to Fresno. Here we are, we're taking a cab from Fresno back to Los Angeles at one o'clock in the morning," he said.

The FAA will force air traffic controllers to take a furlough day every other week in an effort to save $600 million. Fewer people in the tower could mean delays at airports. But a spokesman at San Francisco International Airport says the impact will vary.

"Today we're not seeing any effects. It might be something like weather where every day it might be kind of a different story," said SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel.

"I wish they would cooperate and make smart cuts instead of across the board cuts that are ridiculous," said Andrew Arnold of Oakland.

Some people believe the cuts could jeopardize people's safety.

"I think it's going to put more stress on the people in the air traffic control and I don't think it's right," said Lorraine McCue of Boston.

Predicting the delays has proven to be a difficult task. Sometimes they vary by the hour. But everyone from the airlines, to the airports to the FAA is recommending people frequently check the status of their fights, particularly in the hours before they are due to travel.


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