Nasty weather — particularly in Atlanta — is turning South Florida’s major airports into an unexpected and unwanted gathering spot for hundreds of passengers.
At least 13 flights bound for Atlanta Saturday morning at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are delayed, according to Flight View — some by almost three hours by 12:15 p.m. The delays affect most carriers, including Delta, AeroMexico and Korean Air. Some flights, including a Southwest Airlines flight that was to depart for Atlanta at 10:20, were canceled by noon.
The Federal Aviation Administration reports that flights from FLL and Miami International Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are currently experiencing delays averaging an hour and 11 minutes due to the weather.
Afternoon storms that passed through Fort Lauderdale also added to the headache at that airport.
Gregory Meyer, Broward County Aviation Department spokesman, said “about two dozen flights are impacted due to weather in Fort Lauderdale and there’s also an hour delay for departures out of Atlanta. So we have a combination of issues going on due to weather.”
The thunderstorm led to the closing of a ramp at FLL and diverted at least one arriving Delta flight to MIA to refuel.
While Greg Chin, communications director at Miami International Airport, says no delays have been reported so far at MIA., by 1 p.m. Delta was reporting seven of its flights to Atlanta are delayed.
The weather delays are also affecting nine flights to New York on airlines including Delta, Virgin Atlantic and Air France.
As South Florida skies also let go of rain and thunder, as predicted, passengers crowded terminals staring into iPads and phone screens.
Some were in good humor.
“The weather in Atlanta is wreaking havoc on flights out of FLL,” said a Miami Herald editor who was at Fort Lauderdale’s airport for a 9:45 a.m. departure but said his Delta flight returned to the gate some two hours later. “Terminal 2 is jammed but the bar is doing a brisk business,” he said.
Others were clearly upset.
“Why can all flights leave Atlanta in this weather but no flights can land in Atlanta? My entire flight will miss their connections because of this. Unreal,” read one passenger’s post on Twitter.
Delta Airlines responded: “The safety of our passengers and staff is paramount. Therefore, we comply with all FAA mandated restrictions. However, we do understand the inconvenience and frustration caused by this unavoidable delay. On behalf of Delta, please accept our sincere apology.”
The weather also affected airports in other states with flights bound to Atlanta.
Sometimes you just have to catch up on your reading, as some passengers broke out the books while sitting through four-hour delays in some places. One passenger’s choice of reading in the terminal material: “Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-to-Guide.”
That’s not bad advice.