Saturday, March 2

FAA reports 21-hour maximum delay at PBIA amid surge of holiday travelers

A ground delay for the second day in a row caused many delays at Palm Beach International Airport on Wednesday evening.

The delay was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration and means aircraft continue to land and take off but may be delayed, according to Joe Harrington, the director of marketing and communications at PBIA.

According to the FAA, the biggest delay Wednesday was 21 hours. On average, people had to wait three hours and 42 minutes for their flight.

“I would anticipate that we will be very busy in the coming days. We could get even busier,” Harrington said. “We are at the height of holiday travel season, and we are in the height of season here in South Florida where the snowbirds all flock here to Palm Beach County, and we expect we’ll be very busy not just during the holiday travel season but the next few months as well.”

According to Harrington, more than 80 flights were affected by some type of delay, which could be because of weather or ground stops from other airports.

“PBI doesn’t have any control over delays, so we really just work to educate the passengers and make sure that they are checking with their airlines before they come to the airport, making sure that they’re comfortable while they’re here at the airport,” Harrington said.

He said his own flight was delayed on Tuesday because of ground delays.

“I’m waiting for my daughter her husband and her three great kids,” a grandfather named Pete told WPTV.

He said his daughter’s flight was supposed to land at PBIA from New York at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“How long has their delay been?” asked WPTV reporter Joel Lopez.

“Six hours and counting, and they were just getting close, and they veered them out to the ocean again,” Pete said

His daughter’s flight finally landed just before 5 p.m.

“The kids were very well behaved, everyone at the airline was very friendly, and we’re in Florida now so it’s all good,” Josh Shapiro, Pete’s son-in-law, said.

Parents like Chastity Hampstead, Chris Jones and their three young kids had their flight to New Jersey delayed three hours Wednesday.

“Three hours at night with three kids is a big delay because we’re not getting home till past midnight now,” Hampstead said. “Our house is an hour away from the airport, so we get home at 1 a.m. with a two-month-old.”

The couple said they’re small business owners that run two health clubs called Nobody Denied Fitness, but now patience will be their biggest strength.

“They all just woke up from a nap, so they might tear the airport up for the next three hours,” Hampstead said.

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