Flooding at New York's JFK terminal adds to delays from cold weather

US winter storm causes travel headaches at NY airport

Part of New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, which has been plagued by delays stranding thousands of passengers since Thursday's "Bomb Cyclone" winter storm, was evacuated Sunday afternoon following a massive water main break.

It was unclear what caused the water problem, which sent about 3 inches of it into the terminal's west end.

Electricity to the flooded areas of the terminal was shut off after the pipe broke to ensure safety and prevent short-circuiting, Cotton said.

Travelers at JFK Airport still faced delays Monday, a day after a water main break wreaked havoc and forced evacuations at the arrival terminals - while officials vowed to "hold all responsible parties accountable".

"What happened at JFK Airport is unacceptable, and travellers expect and deserve better", Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement. The terminal was reopened for arrivals Sunday night, according to WABC.

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Around the world, airlines were reading that forecast as a green light to take off for long hauls to New York City. They added that JFK International Air Terminal worked "closely with agencies and authorities as well as on-site emergency maintenance personnel".

Abrams video showed water on the ground in the arrivals area of the terminal and the chaos as travelers attempted a mass exodus from the airport.

According to NBC Miami, employees at the JFK Airport were working to diminish the backlog of flights when two airplanes collided on the runway, stalling the progress made towards connecting customers with flights.

The deluge led to canceled flights and a sea of suitcases inside the baggage claim area at Terminal 4, the main gateway for worldwide flights at the NY airport. Twelve worldwide flights arrived during the time of the water main break, and all were de-planed and processed through Customs.

Equipment froze and baggage handling was delayed, which was compounded by staff shortages and heavier than normal passenger loads, the Port Authority said.

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Terminal 4 is a major gateway for global arrivals at JFK and serves as an worldwide hub for Delta Airlines, according to the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey. Departing global flights continued, but with delays, as were domestic arrivals and departures from T4, also with delays.

Tempers flared at the luggage carousel, where travelers waited for hours and posted pictures on social media of bags piling up. "It's kind of insane", he said.

"I have just called baggage and they say they have a backlog of at least 1000 bags".

"This was a family of five, and the older daughter was heading back to college in Denver, while the rest were coming to Indianapolis, so they thought she would have to wait until Monday", Hawkins said Sunday evening.

Global airlines have committed to have baggage reunited by passengers in New York City by Tuesday morning, said Cotton.

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"Virtually no foreign airline canceled any flights into J.F.K." on Thursday, said Jason Rabinowitz, a freelance aviation blogger who tracked the cascading pileup as it played out.

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