Flight delays and cancellations hit the ROC

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Winter conditions not only affected travelers on the road but in the air as well. Thousands of flights were canceled in parts of the country including dozens of flights in and out of Rochester.

News10NBC’s Jenny Ly headed to the Frederick Douglass-Greater Rochester International Airport Tuesday to get a pulse of what’s happening in the air.

“We had some struggles this morning with cancellations from all of our airlines. Not a lot, but some,” said Airport Director Andy Moore. “That’s just kind of the residual effect of yesterday where we had about 25-30% of our flights canceled.”

It didn’t take long before the ripple effect of Monday’s winter storm to hit Rochester. Travelers like Hector Guzman who is here on a business trip says he experienced major travel issues.

“I found out that my bag got to enjoy another day in Texas… We’re hoping that later on this evening my luggage makes it out here,” Guzman said. “We were on the plane for about 30 minutes getting ready for our takeoff and then the pilot said, ‘Everything’s been canceled… we’re going to de-board,’ so we deboard and it was a mad rush to the counters.’’

Another traveler said he had to completely cancel his business trip to Reno.

“My flight to Philadelphia was delayed and because of the domino effect, I was going to miss all my other connecting flights,” said David Harrison, a Pittsford resident. “They couldn’t rebook me [to Reno] until sometime tomorrow, so I said forget it.”

Harrison, who recently took on a new job in September, travels every week for work. He believes the combination of the surge in COVID and weather was a recipe for some turbulence.

“I’ve had a couple hiccups here and there but this is the biggest one so far. I think a lot of people have COVID fatigue and just want to travel somewhere,” Harrison added.

Rochester’s airport director Andy Moore says COVID has indeed had an impact.

“Over the last couple weeks, we have started to see an increase in all the airlines. We have seven airlines here in Rochester, so everyone’s having a battle with their own staffing whether it’s flight attendants, pilots or even ground staff meaning ticket counter or gate staff. We’re starting to see a little impact with the airlines,” Moore said.

Moore says despite issues at other airports around the country, Rochester is holding up well.

“Here we’re great, we’ve got full staff on. Our airfield crews are fully staffed and healthy. Our custodial staff is fully staffed and healthy, and we are trying to create a sterile, clean healthy environment the best that we can here in the airport terminal,” Moore said.

The airport director said he expects flights will slowly get back to normal by Tuesday night, as the airlines continue to catch up throughout the course of the day.