Nightly News   |  January 06, 2014

Polar Vortex Delays Thousands of Flights

NBC’s Anne Thompson reports from John F. Kennedy airport where JetBlue says it won’t fly again in New York or Boston until Tuesday.

Share This:

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

>>> really messed up the travel, not the grounding of planes post-9/11, or the grounding of planes following the european volcano, but bad nonetheless. 200,000 passengers had their plans changed by force today. 3500 flights were cancelled. now jetblue says they will not fly in this cold at some of their bigger airports. anne thompson has more from jfk , good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian, you know this really is a miserable time to travel. almost every major domestic airline experienced cancellations or delays because of the polar vortex . and this evening, at new york's three major airports, jetblue says it will not fly at all. the news that jetblue would not fly again in new york and boston until tomorrow morning is trying the patience of already weary travellers.

>> everything was cancelled from here to jfk , nothing leaving jfk or here.

>> reporter: jetblue promises to be operational by 3:00 in the afternoon tomorrow, by says the overnight break will let them catch up, giving the crews badly needed rest after the weather turned the planes upside down.

>> it is a little stressful. i'm going back into philly, i don't know when i will get out of here.

>> reporter: across the country, more than 3700 flights were cancelled by 5:00 p.m . tonight, impacting some 13,000 passengers. at chicago's o'hare airport? help is as rare as an on- time flight .

>> can't get any information from anybody. the airlines basically wouldn't even answer the phone anymore.

>> i've been cancelled twice. and honestly, i mean, i have no idea when i will be able to get out of here, i just want to get back. i mean, i've been out in this airport for about 12 hours. exhausted.

>> reporter: the situation is no better at the nation's smaller airports. hartford's bradley international does not expect improvement any time soon.

>> if our arrivals do not come in late tonight which are our terminating flights we don't have the equipment here at the airport to make up the de departures tomorrow.

>> reporter: now adding to the chaos, they're requiring the pilots to get shorter flying times and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. add to that, you can see how the airline schedules can get badly disrupted.

>> anne thompson , thank you. as