WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WWLP) – There is a lot of confusion and frustration among passengers at Bradley International Airport on Wednesday.
The FAA says its Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) System, which is an essential system for flight operations, had “failed” Wednesday morning, causing several delays and even cancellations. Now, there are some airlines that are trying to compensate by offering travel waivers.
According to data from Flight Aware, there are just under 2,000 delays across the country and just under 300 cancellations. The airports that are faring the worst of it include Dallas fort Worth, Charlotte, North Carolina, and LaGuardia.
John Ratcliff of Florida said, “I’ve been traveling for about 40 years and I’ve got to say recently over the past few years, I got to say, I really feel almost embarrassed to be a U.S. traveler to go through what you have to go through with the airlines the way they are situated the way they are today.”
Jasper Basiliere of South Carolina said his mom alerted him to the FAA issue early Wednesday morning, his carrier let him know about problems about four hours before his scheduled departure, “My first flight got delayed and shortly after that my second flight got delayed. So overall just a delay of day unfortunately.”
According to the FAA, normal air traffic operations are resuming gradually and they are continuing to look into what caused the initial problem.
So what recourse do travelers have if their plans where disrupted? According to the Department of Transportation, there are no federal laws requiring airlines to provide passengers with money or compensation when their flights are delayed. However some airlines have take it upon themselves to offer travel waivers.
“It’s a good idea for something like today. If you’re really that inconvenienced by it, I mean for us luckily, we aren’t on a hard schedule so they delay means little to us, but then if it really does mess up your plans, it’s a really nice gesture,” said John Clark of Templeton.
At last check, both United and Delta are offering waivers for disrupted travel. The Department of Transportation advises if a flight is significantly delayed, customers should ask airlines staff if meals or hotel rooms can be covered.
Representatives at Bradley International Airport are encouraging passengers to keep in contact with their carrier, not only for the status of their flight, but for any refunds or waivers.
What is the NOTAM system?
It’s called the ‘Notice to Air Missions’ system and when it’s down, pilots are not able to be alerted to potential hazards during a flight. This computer system provided important data to flight crews in order to keep people safe. The system can alert crews if a runway is closed or icy, if there is an animal hazard, like a large flock of birds, or if a navigation system is not working.
“This is a comprehensive way and a common way for a pilot to find out the potential safety concerns that be out there. So clearly this is an important safety function of the system and is essential for pilots to utilize,” said Chris Willenborg of Westover Barnes Regional Airport.
The White House says at this point there is no evidence of a cyber attack and the FAA says they are going to look into the cause of the outage.