Thousands of travelers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston were left stranded after hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled Thursday, an inconvenience that comes right before the July 4th holiday.
According to Flight Aware, 106 flights were canceled flying to or from IAH on Thursday, and another 374 flights were delayed. The customers impacted by the cancellations were stranded for several hours with some being forced to wait in long lines in an attempt to get their flights rebooked and others stuck on the phone trying to locate lost luggage, FOX 26 Houston reported.
Cheryl Young, a customer impacted by the disruptions, described the situation as “awful” and said she spent several hours on the phone attempting to retrieve her mother’s luggage, which contained necessary medication.
“It’s been awful. Awful,” Young told the outlet. “On the phone yesterday for four hours and eight minutes. Just trying to find her bag. You’re put on hold then the phone disconnects.”
OVER 4,000 FLIGHTS DISRUPTED IN US, UNITED AIRLINES MOST IMPACTED
“My mom has been here since Tuesday,” Young continued. “Couldn’t get out so we rescheduled. Her bag has been here since Tuesday, so we can’t get her bag with all her medicines in it and get out of here. We’re not flying. We’re going to drive home.”
Justin Ray told FOX 26 that he was returning from Mexico Wednesday night when his next flight was delayed, then delayed again, and again.
“The flight got pushed back an hour, an hour, an hour, until 1 a.m., then they set the time for 11 a.m. this morning, then it got canceled this morning. The next available flight is on July 1 to Denver,” Ray said, who was flying with United Airlines.
He said a United representative told him a “shortage of air traffic controllers and maybe pilots” was contributing to the delays, FOX 26 reported.
United said in a statement to Fox News Digital that they are seeing “meaningful improvement” and the number of affected flights is continuing to decline.
UNITED CEO SCOTT KIRBY SLAMS FAA FOR FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS, DELAYS
“We’re seeing continued meaningful improvement today after an overnight effort to further repair schedules and match separated crews with aircraft,” United said. “As the recovery progresses, delays and cancellations will continue to decline as we head into what we expect to be a very busy holiday weekend. We’re closely watching the weather, especially in Denver and Chicago today, and are hopeful our customers will still see fewer last-minute cancellations – which will reduce lines at the airport.”
The company added: “We’re grateful to our customers who have endured a lot of disruptions over the last few days and to our teams who have worked around the clock to care for them.”
Melissa Guftafson had a similar experience, telling FOX 26 she was on the phone for nearly four hours after her initial flight was delayed several times before it was ultimately canceled.
“We had a connecting flight from Belize, landed in Texas, they said it was delayed, delayed, delayed, delayed. We did almost 7 hours at the airport last night before they canceled it. So after a long day of flying, we find out they don’t have hotel accommodations. No place to stay, no food vouchers even, nothing,” Guftafson said.
A United spokesperson told FOX 26 their company was not unique in cancellations and delays as severe weather in the Northeast “impacted all airlines this week.”
“We’re seeing improvement across our operation at IAH and remain all hands on deck as our pilots continue to get aircraft’s moving, our contact center teams are working overtime to take care of our customers, and our airport customer service staff is working tirelessly to deliver bags and board flights,” the company said.
The statement continued: “As a reminder for customers whose travel has been disrupted, the United mobile app now automatically gives personalized re-booking options, bag tracking information and meal and hotel vouchers when eligible if your flight is delayed or canceled, making it easier and less stressful to get back on your way.”
More than 4,000 flights in to, out of or within the U.S. were disrupted Wednesday afternoon amid severe storms that slammed the East Coast over the past few days, according to FlightAware data.
United Airlines was hit the hardest, with more than 400 cancellations and 650 delays.
Fox Business reached out to George Bush Intercontinental Airport for comment, but a response was not immediately received.
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