Long lines, big crowds, canceled flights lead to MIA mayhem

People stand in a rebooking line at the American Airlines terminal in Miami International Airport Friday, April 1, 2022. Airport officials say stormy weather Thursday and Friday caused flight cancellations and backups.

People stand in a rebooking line at the American Airlines terminal in Miami International Airport Friday, April 1, 2022. Airport officials say stormy weather Thursday and Friday caused flight cancellations and backups.

Dianne and Thomas Hammond were scheduled to fly from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Miami and then to St. Kitts in the Caribbean on Friday morning.

But, the flight was delayed an hour in New York. They were told it was because the crew didn’t show up.

By the time they landed in Miami, they missed their connecting flight to St. Kitts, the only one of the day. That was just the beginning of their travel nightmare.

Long rebooking line leads to tempers flaring

The Hammonds were told to stand in the “rebooking” line at Miami International Airport, which they estimate to have been up to 500 people deep when they joined the queue.

And, there were just two American Airlines staffers to service all the people. Between the crowds and the wait time, patience wore thin quickly, Hammond said.

“People were cutting in line and screaming at each other. It’s bedlam,” Dianne Hammond said.

RELATED: MIA has the longest wait times of major US airports

After six hours waiting in line, there were still about 20 people ahead of the couple when they spoke with the Herald around 7 pm Friday.

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People stand in a rebooking line at the American Airlines terminal in Miami International Airport Friday, April 1, 2022. Airport officials say stormy weather Thursday and Friday caused flight cancellations and backups. Dianne Hammond

“While we’ve been here, the line more than doubled all the way down the airport,” she said.

They hoped to be able to book the next flight to St. Kitts, which leaves Saturday morning, so they could still salvage their vacation.

“The flight leaves at 11:40 am We hope to be on it, God willing,” she said.

The Hammonds weren’t alone.

Throngs of stranded passengers at MIA

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at MIA because stormy weather across Florida on Thursday and Friday led to multiple canceled flights and delays, disruptions overlapping with the airport hitting record traffic levels as travel surges after an extended pandemic slump, said Greg Chin, spokesman for the airport .

Chin said Friday saw 17 canceled flights in or out of MIA, which typically sees about 1,000 flights per day, The airport friday morning sent out a message to travelers saying Central Florida storms were causing delays with flights.

Chin said security lines were moving smoothly for passengers able to board their flights, and the airport’s website listed wait times at between 10 and 30 minutes.

Laura Misvidal, an American Airlines spokeswoman, also blamed the delays on weather and air traffic control delays “due to weather.”

This story was originally published Apr 1, 2022 9:25 PM.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, DC He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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