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Flights Resume Across U.S. After FAA Outage: Live Updates

Published:

Jan. 11, 2023, 11:17 a.m. ET

Jan. 11, 2023, 11:17 a.m. ETCredit…Jeenah Moon for The Latest York Times

Having a flight delayed, then receiving little information or hope about when it should finally take off, just isn’t an unfamiliar fate for frequent fliers. However the F.A.A. system failure that caused greater than 6,500 delays on Wednesday led to a rather different dynamic for the frustrated passengers: This time, they didn’t have the airline accountable.

“Since it was a systemwide, nationwide thing, there was nowhere to direct your outrage, so everybody was being really helpful,” said Jess McIntosh, a political consultant whose American Airlines flight was delayed in Albany, N.Y. “And no one was yelling on the T.S.A. agents.”

Bettina Inclán, who was traveling to Houston from Washington, said her United pilot kept everyone on her delayed flight informed and calm.

“Your complete United team did rather well in setting expectations, being honest on what they knew and didn’t know and what all of it meant,” she said.

As Sara Hole, of Stamford, Conn., and her fiancé, Drew Tomlinson, waited by their gate in Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday morning, they got the impression that the American Airlines staff members were just as confused because the passengers.

Over the intercom, an airline representative told them there was an F.A.A. “system outage,” but there have been few other details.

“They’ve emphasized that they’ve all the same information that we do,” Ms. Hole said.

A few of the passengers could have been understanding, but their plans were no less ruined. Ms. McIntosh, who left for the airport at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight to Raleigh, N.C., for a business meeting, eventually went back home when she realized she was going to miss most of it. Ms. Inclán needed to rearrange several meetings. Ms. Hole said they’d probably miss their connecting flight, disrupting their planned mountaineering trip for Mr. Tomlinson’s birthday.

Nor were passengers any less upset.

“I’m very mad,” said Sayron Stokes, who was searching for a quiet corner of La Guardia Airport for a nap on Wednesday. “We’d like to do something higher. I don’t know what more we’d like to see in place, but that is ridiculous. I’m losing a day, and I’ve had no sleep simply to get back home.”

But unlike Southwest’s holiday season meltdown, when passengers aimed their ire squarely on the airline and a few of its employees, the frustration on Wednesday couldn’t be pinned on a selected company, and even on the whims of severe weather. Regardless of the airline or the region of the country, everyone was in the dead of night.

It led to confusing scenes within the early morning as the image got here into focus. Venus Marcil said she and her uncle were on their plane in Orlando International Airport, seatbelt fastened for his or her 7:25 a.m. Delta flight to Latest York, when the pilot said they were cleared to take off.

“Then they backed off of it,” she recalled the pilot saying. They were deplaned, and he or she was told she would receive an update in about two hours.

But that wasn’t Delta’s fault, she said.

“I feel they’ve been transparent and timely with the communication,” Ms. Marcil said of the airline.

Jenny Gross, Jordyn Holman and Nancy Wartik contributed reporting.

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