Panic attacks, public urination reported at JFK airport amid major delays
Chaotic scenes unfolded at New York’s JFK International Airport over the weekend as weather conditions forced numerous flight delays, leaving hundreds of JetBlue passengers waiting on the tarmac. Some reportedly lost control of their bladders, and also suffered panic attacks.
The affected passengers were stuck on grounded planes or in JetBlue terminals for hours on Sunday night, many taking to social media to document just how disordered things were getting.
Been stuck at JFK for 12 hours, no communication no anything and they refuse to cancel the flight basically keeping us hostage for our luggages. Plus your terminal has no pet relief areas ! Not cool @JetBluepic.twitter.com/LBTJuIwye7— nino :) (@taurustroubles) January 31, 2022
.@JetBlue appears to be having a meltdown at @JFKairport.There are nearly 20 inbound flights scattered around the taxiways unable to reach a gate, some of them for several hours. At least half a dozen flights are also now diverting to Newark. pic.twitter.com/EfChgbb6J9— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) January 31, 2022
“One passenger is having an obvious panic attack,” New York Fox reporter Bianca Peters wrote in a tweet, saying travelers were being forced to stay on planes on the tarmac for more than three hours. Others reported seeing passengers urinate in their seats as they waited for hours, according to media coverage of the disruptions.
Many flights were rescheduled after numerous delays, though some customers complained that JetBlue’s refusal to actually cancel flights led to a mass of confusion, with some flights even being diverted to other airports.
Images and footage from the airport showed a mass of baggage released amid the delays and cancellations, and many passengers apparently unable to identify their own belongings.
Our flight won't get in before customs closes in LA @JetBlue so we're not leaving Cancun... we have an entire plane full of people who need hotels and rebooking. I know you're all overworked but any help through app and Twitter DM is appreciated— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) January 31, 2022
JetBlue released a statement Monday, blaming the mass delays and cancellations on weather conditions. Much of the US’ northeast was blanketed with a blizzard over the weekend, which the airline says can take days to recover from.
“At JFK, we started operations on Saturday as planned but faced a number of conditions that have slowed the operation down,” a representative for the company told the New York Post.
The dumping of more than approximately a foot of snow around JFK led to the airline shutting down services at one point, but aviation experts claim that staffing shortages, which have affected other airlines in recent months, likely also impacted operations at the weekend, something some passengers reported being directly told by staff as well.