Nightly News   |  April 25, 2013

What’s happening on board delayed flights?

In the wake of federal budget cuts that have delayed flights for airline passengers, four NBC correspondents document their travels over the past 24 hours. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> on any given day there are 87,000 flights over our country. it's a workable air travel system at best. when it goes bad, it's awful. it's been awful for so many people this week because of air traffic delays brought on by the political paralysis and those forced budget cutbacks known as the sequester. because of what's happening -- or not happening -- in washington , it has been a miserable week for air travel delays. we sent four nbc news correspondents out to document their travels over these past 24 hours . nbc 's tom costello tonight with a look at how it all went.

>> reporter: the air space between washington and new york is some of the most congested in the country. we are going to get on the 9:00 shuttle and see how it goes. it all started well.

>> good morning.

>> reporter: u.s. airways did its job. we pushed back from the investigate five minugate five minutes early. then things changed. it's 9:00. the pilot announced an air traffic delay and we won't leave until 9:30.

>> the delay in d.c. was just because the sequester was a 32-minute delay.

>> reporter: thankfully the pilots made up the time and we got to laguardia at 10:07 . things didn't go so well for stephanie gosk who flew from columbus to newark .

>> this flight was supposed to land around 7:00 in newark . it's now 9:30. the good news, we are on the ground. the bad news, we are in allentown, pennsylvania. we were going to run out of gas because newark couldn't let us land.

>> reporter: passengers not so happy.

>> they could save money in a million other ways. they have furloughs to keep people that they need to keep planes in the air.

>> reporter: today, southwest airlines ceo accused the f.a.a. of failing to tell the airlines where the delays might be most acute.

>> there are suggestions we should adjust schedules but we have no idea on a day-to-day basis where we might need to adjust our schedules.

>> reporter: meanwhile as republicans blamed the white house and the white house blamed republicans, nbc 's gabe gutierrez flew round trip from the nation's busiest airport .

>> no delays round trip from atlanta to miami. both flights arrived on time.

>> reporter: nbc 's diana alviar had no problems l.a. to las vegas .

>> just landed at los angeles .

>> reporter: on my return flight to d.c., a slow down. so we are number 30 for departure and the delays, he blames on the sequester.

>> we'll keep you posted. thanks for your patience.

>> reporter: we landed in washington an hour late. the senate is working on emergency legislation tonight that would essentially put furloughed air traffic controllers back in the towers. we are told the white house may support the legislation. one incentive is the senate wants to get out of town tomorrow to start their week-long oh recess. brian.

>> after a day of pretzels in the air, tom, thanks for your trouble. what a mess.