Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has said it is sorry that more than 1000 passengers were forced to endure hours sitting on planes at John F Kennedy airport. Some customers had to wait 11 hours before they were allowed to disembark because of blizzards which caused the closure of all airports in the vicinity of New York. Cathay has since said the delays were caused by a lack of available gates at the terminal.
Many of the passengers are angry that the airline did not communicate with them about the situation. Others are asking why; if it knew about the weather problems on the east coast of America, planes were allowed to take off from Hong Kong in the first place. The airline has said it will be looking into what went wrong so that the fiasco is not repeated in the future.
The snow storms which have ravaged the east coast are the worst for 60 years. Some 1.2 million airline passengers have had their travel plans disrupted by the cancellation of around 8200 scheduled flights. Frustration is mounting as airlines struggle to shift a backlog of customers.
The storms have come at one of the busiest times of the year for airlines. Most planes are already flying at close to full capacity which is making it difficult to re-seat customers who have had flights cancelled.
Brandon Macasta, from the Association of Passenger Airline Rights, said that carriers needed to come up with strategies on how to deal with situations such as bad weather, especially in terms of communicating with their passengers.