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CNN Today

Holiday Travel: Heavy Traffic, Labor, Weather Problems Make for Uncertain Day

Aired December 22, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Today is a peak day for airline travel, and it's not just weather causing concern at the airports: Heavy traffic and labor problems are adding to the uncertainty.

Let's check in with CNN's Deborah Feyerick; she's at New York's LaGuardia airport -- Deborah?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, we are told now by officials here LaGuardia that delays are running up to an hour -- that twice what they were just at about 9:30 this morning,

This is the departures and the arrivals board. A lot -- or several flights, we should say, not a lot -- but several flights are definitely canceled. If you are on one of those flights, of course, then it's a big deal -- so even though the airlines are saying, oh, we've only got a couple canceled flights, the people who are on those flights very upset.

One man had to get home to Columbus, Ohio, to pick up his daughter by 6:00. He actually had to leave this airport and go to totally different airport -- to JFK Airport -- to try to make any flight that he could find.

Now, this is the off-peak hour. Crowds expected to grow a little bit later this afternoon, about 3:00. You can see the lines here, just behind me. Earlier this morning, this line just was a maze of people, folks waiting for a full hour just to get to the ticket counter. That is not the case now; as a matter of fact, this line is moving very, very quickly.

We have pulled some folks, but they spent no time waiting around: As soon as they were called, they went to ticket counter. They want to get on those flights and get out of here.

We are live in New York --Deborah Feyerick, back to you -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And Deborah, no signs of labor problems -- having any especially long waits?

FEYERICK: No, the waits here don't seem so long, but there are a couple of people -- a couple of pilots -- outside -- a couple of people from the airlines who are, in fact, handing out literature. A number of folks just didn't know that, in fact, there was any sort of problem with the airlines. So at least they're getting briefed on that: something to read while they're waiting on line.

ALLEN: OK, Deborah Feyerick, checking in from LaGuardia.

Now, for more, here's Joie.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Natalie, if you're trying to get in and out of Boston, there's also going to be a bit of trouble for us.

Joining us from our CNN affiliate WCVB, in Boston, is Mary Saladna. She is at the Logan Airport now.

Mary, what are you seeing there?

MARY SALADNA, WCVB REPORTER: Things are moving pretty smoothly here, Joie. We've had sporadic snowshowers, but no real trouble with travel delays here. We have had a handful of cancellations, but the only really delays here at Logan have nothing to do with the weather.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SALADNA (voice-over): So many people standing in line, most a plane ride away from their holiday vacation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're headed to Tampa, visiting family., my wife's family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to Boca Grande (ph), which is an island off of Sarasota, for the holidays -- for 10 days.

SALADNA: Very nice, and you're taking the dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, have dog, will travel.

SALADNA: The good news today: Most flights are running on time. But there are a few exceptions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are on the flight to Orlando, and it's been canceled.

SALADNA: So what now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No idea, so hopefully they've put out something when we have to be there tonight.

SALADNA: If you are traveling today, you've got plenty of company, so expect the biggest delay to be here at the check-in counter.

Is your flight on time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope -- I'm surprised it is. I wish it was late, because I'm running late.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SALADNA: So again, no major delays here at Logan, but because this is such a heavy travel day, you'll want to give yourself plenty of time to get to your airport of choice and to check in. I know earlier here at Logan, the line for the luggage check-in went right out the terminal door, so don't be late.

I'm Mary Saladna, live in Boston, Joie, back to you.

CHEN: OH, Mary, that's the thing: You shouldn't be carrying too many bags if trying to travel on the holiday.

Now, what's happening -- I mean, do you all notice any sort of delays coming out, say, from New York or from other airports coming to Logan?

SALADNA: I think the biggest problem earlier this morning was delays in the shuttle to LaGuardia because of some of the delays already started there, and some snow, we were told, had everybody in a holding pattern getting from Boston to LaGuardia.

So that was the only real problem. A couple flights canceled to Florida, but folks are being rebooked as I speak, so no big problem.

The problem, normally, in Boston, I should mention, Joie, are the winds -- and on Wednesday, we had over 100 flights canceled because of heavy northwest winds. So they're OK today, thank goodness.

CHEN: Well, let's keep our fingers crossed for you guys -- Mary Saladna of WCVB, in Boston, joining from Logan International.

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