Local flights canceled, leaving travelers unable to get home after holidays


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Travel woes continued on Monday for thousands of flyers across the country. More than 3,000 flights were canceled, with thousands delayed.

Locally, the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport is feeling the impact as well. As of Monday afternoon, almost 10 arrival flights had been canceled, along with 6 departures. 

So what’s to blame? Airport authorities say it’s a combination of COVID-19 and the weather. 

“We have started to see some cancellations among all of our airlines due to COVID, but particularly in the last couple days, we’ve seen that rise a little bit with the weather and the storm coming through the northeast part of the United States, which is having a big impact on our travelers here in Rochester today,” said Andy Moore, the Airport Director at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport. 

News 8 spoke to numerous travelers who were stuck at the airport on Monday, waiting to get home after the holidays.

Mackenzie Coyne was in Canandaigua for the holidays, but she’s trying to get back to Wilmington, North Carolina with her boyfriend. Her flight out of Rochester Monday morning was canceled, so she hopped on her boyfriend’s afternoon flight. That was canceled too. 

“We both have to get back to work. Our school is starting for us. We just planned on being able to go home today and I had to call into work and everything, so now we just don’t know what to do,” Coyne said. 

Jamie Yunits is from Florida and has been stuck in Rochester for a day. She was originally hoping to visit loved ones in the city, but they ended up getting COVID. 

“We don’t want to go home just yet because we’re on vacation. So we’re gonna go to Boston,” Yunits said. “The flight here from Florida was pretty bad too because there’s a lot of delays, a lot of cancellations. We finally made it here. Just to turn around and leave but well, we’re supposed to get to Boston today on a direct flight.”

For Cynthia Gears, this was her first time traveling on a plane since before the pandemic. She was waiting Monday get back to Washington D.C., where she works.

“It’s so strange because I’m a world traveler. But it’s like it’s a new world, right? So yeah, I was actually nervous about flying from Baltimore to Rochester for the holidays, but it was very smooth. Everything went very well,” she said. 

Moore said at the airport, they are doing everything they can to keep travelers safe amid the ongoing pandemic. 

“We have a Ready Set ROC initiative that keeps this airport as clean, sanitized, disinfected as we can. I’ve got custodial and janitorial crews on 24 hours a day. And we have regular meetings with our airline partners, our concessions, and our car rentals about keeping their areas as sanitized as possible,” Moore said. 

If you are worried about an upcoming flight, Moore said the best thing you can do is stay in touch with your airline and follow what is happening in the destination you’re traveling to. 

“Keep tabs of where your aircraft is and what’s going on with your airline. If you can get text messaging, or download the airline app and get emails through that airline, that’s a great way to communicate and get information as quick as you can. But ultimately, just keep in touch with your airline for any last minute notifications, or any redirection or rebooking of your flight,” Moore said. 

Despite the delays and cancelations, Americans are sill traveling. TSA said more than 1.6 million individuals passed through travel checkpoints on Saturday. 

You can view the status of flight arrivals and departures in Rochester by clicking here

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