(UPDATE From Snowed-In Newark International Airport) For Travelers Stuck At LAX, Weather Continues To Make Life Suck
Continental passengers delayed by a New Jersey blizzard last night were left in the dark through the wee hours
PHOTO BY PATRICK RANGE MCDONALD
Times Square is buried under at least one foot of snow
Twitter via spanishNY
Updated after the jump: The Weekly's Patrick Range McDonald live-blogs from the snowed-in Newark International Airport, where Continental employees leave stranded passengers to the guesswork. All night long.
Updated after the jump: Travelers from L.A. stuck in New York as well! A spokeswoman from the W Hotel describes the overflow. Originally posted at 9:20 a.m.
SoCal's unusual spell of wetness may be over, but East Coast snowstorms mean more inconvenience for holiday travelers currently camped out at LAX. Anyone with a flight to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Philadelphia can expect a long day of recycled air conditioning and "Do not leave your bags unattended..."
Meanwhile, Times Square is sparkling --
Times Square ridiculousness. Mother nature must hate it as much as I do #snowpocalypseNYC
Affected U.S. airlines include Delta, American, Alaska and Jet Blue. For those unlucky enough to be flying to Canada, 200 flights set to land in Toronto have also been cancelled.
Other snowed-in airports, expected to re-open later today or tonight:
JFK International, New York
Newark International, New Jersey
Bradley International, Connecticut
Caldwell Wright Airport, New Jersey
For more detailed closure information, see this handy government-issued map.
Those less inclined to travel and more inclined to be vegging out on the couch this morning in a post-Christmas coma might be more interested to know that the blizzard will also push an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles to Tuesday night.
Try to hang in there, guys.
Update: At the W Hotel in New York, travelers who were smart enough to check the status of their flights before leaving the hotel are having to book a room at the W for at least one more night. However, because no one can get into the city either, the incoming and outgoing customers are compensating for each other.
"A lot of reservations are being cancelled since no flights are coming into the airport," she says.
Here at the Weekly, we have at least one staffer stranded under the white blanket in New York Shitty. Anyone else stuck in limbo?
P.S. You thought the airports were bad. This morning, the NYT got with the times, so to speak, and live-blogged about 400 passengers stuck on the subway since 1 a.m. in 15-degree weather. They were finally rescued late this morning. Throughout the city, cars and trains are stranded in the aftermath of last night's blizzard -- #snowpocalypse indeed.
Update, Dec. 27, 10 p.m.:
By 10 p.m. on Monday night at Newark International Airport, Continental Airlines flights for that day to LA and other points had been cancelled.
At the Continental terminal, there was nearly no one waiting to be padded down or X-rayed at the security check point, but there were long, zig-zagging lines of customers waiting to re-schedule their flights. These lines moved at a snail's pace, but there were no loud outbursts of frustration or anger.
Many people, wearing thick winter coats and long scarfs, just stood and zoned out, looking somewhat dazed and lost in their own thoughts.
Other people read books or checked their emails on their Blackberries and iPhones.
And still other people sat on a bench, or on the terminal's hard floor, and got ready to spend the night at the airport.
New Jersey Transit trains from Jersey Shore towns such as Spring Lake and Asbury Park in Monmouth County seemed to travel on their own schedules, and slow at that. A usual 90-minute train ride from Spring Lake to Newark International took 4 hours.
When passengers finally arrived at the Continental terminal, no customer service employees were there to greet them and tell them where to go.
Instead, customers had to figure out what to do and where to go on their own, or ask other customers questions.
By 10 p.m. Monday night, Continental customers could still not get through to airline representatives by phone or change their flights through the company's website. It was a situation that forced many customers to go to the airport and get information and make flight changes in person. One middle-aged woman waiting on line said into her phone, "This is a nightmare."
While there was very little information coming from Continental about cancelled flights, the airline did manage to send out a promotional email on Monday night about special deals to New York City and other places, touting their low fees, which at least one customer received while waiting on line in Newark.
Re-accomodate yourselves, would ya?
PHOTO BY PATRICK RANGE MCDONALD
By midnight, Continental closed down, with attendants who were working the ticket counters quietly leaving their posts.
No one from Continental gave a general announcement that the airline was closing shop for Monday night, and again it was up to customers to find out on their own what was happening, only to receive conflicting information.
One customer spoke to an employee and found out that the ticket counters would reopen at 4 a.m. Another customer was told by an employee that the counters would reopen at 3 a.m.
Other customers, in the meantime, laid down on top of their winter jackets and large plastic containers used for luggage, closed their eyes, and tried to sleep until 3 or 4 a.m.
Update, 4:30 a.m.:
One of the main ticket counters at the Continental terminal reopened at
around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning with two attendants helping hundreds of
passengers at Newark airport.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.