Water main break delays flights at New York's beleaguered JFK airport

Andrew Cummings
January 12, 2018

Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 4 was flooded after a water main broke on Sunday afternoon, triggering a partial evacuation and marking the third straight day of chaos at the NY travel hub following last week's "bomb cyclone" winter storm.

Then a feeder pipe to the sprinkler system broke due to the cold weather around 2 p.m. Sunday, flooding the terminal with 3 inches of water. The flood resulted in the baggage claim and customs area of Terminal 4 needing to be evacuated.

Bitter cold temperatures this weekend toyed with airport ground equipment, water mains and aircrafts, tossing flight schedules out the window, as more than 10,000 flights were delayed over two days.

"What happened at JFK Airport is unacceptable, and travelers expect and deserve better", Cotton said, promising an investigation into the flooding.


The authority said Monday it would investigate the water pipe break that added to the weather-related delays that caused a nightmare weekend at Kennedy Airport and will "hold all responsible parties accountable". Passengers who had already arrived were deplaned and taken to other terminals for processing, the Port Authority said. Some worldwide flights destined for Terminal 4 will be diverted or accommodated at other JFK terminals.

A Norwegian Air flight from London diverted to Stewart International Airport, 112km north of Manhattan, while Flightradar 24 said a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo diverted to Boston.

Passengers were kept on planes and waited hours to retrieve luggage as flights were delayed and canceled, and a backup to get to terminal gates built up. My husband and I flew out after a delay of six hours on a Virgin flight to Heathrow.

Dawn Elizabeth Stephenson, CEO and chief adventurer at Platinum Travel Insiders, Montclair, New Jersey, spent a good part of her weekend trying to help a client departing JFK on January 4. Officials said 32 of those flights were global, and 38 were Delta.


Kennedy International Airport in New York City set the stage for the patience of the travelers. "It seemed like a disaster, whether it's the runways not being plowed, whether it's the baggage machines that transport the baggage freezing, whether it's not notifying people what's going on".

"The luggage pile just keeps growing", he said.

Unfortunately, Norman posted another photo of the gate's flight status board showing the flight's new departure time - 12:30 a.m. Saturday.


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