Flight delays pile up at Philadelphia airport as cold, ice impact air travel

Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Cold and ice affecting air travel at Philadelphia airport
The issue at PHL is not just the weather but also the conditions in other parts of the country.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The blustery conditions in the Philadelphia region are also impacting air travel in and out of the airport.

Planes were lined up Tuesday night, waiting to be de-iced at Philadelphia International Airport. Some passengers were able to eventually get out while others were stranded.

"It did take a while. They said there were 12 planes in front of us before we could take off," said Genette Nixon from northeast Philadelphia.

"It was a domino effect. Once one plane was delayed, then everyone else was delayed," said Nneka Cook, from Alabama. "I lucked out and got on standby but my luggage hasn't made it here yet."

PHL spent most of Tuesday under a weather-related ground stop which halted all incoming flights. By 3 p.m., the FAA lifted the stop but a ground delay remained in effect for flights arriving to Philadelphia until 7 p.m.

"The plane was iced up. There were 20 planes in line to de-ice and three hours later they had to return to the terminal because the crew was out of time," said Walter Schlabach, from Greenwood, Delaware.

There were 288 total delays in and out of PHL and 137 cancellations Tuesday and we're already seeing delays and cancellations for Wednesday. The issue is not just the weather in Philadelphia but conditions in other parts of the country as well.

"When major hubs are hit -- Chicago, Dallas, Denver -- It has a domino effect on the rest of the country," said Heather Redfern, with PHL. "So it could take a few days to get back on track. We remind people the weather could be clear here but because it's been bad somewhere elsewhere, you might have issues getting your flight here and that's why you always need to stay in touch with your airline."