Area airports reopen Monday night

Stranded travelers wait at the Airtrain JFK boarding

Stranded travelers wait at the Airtrain JFK boarding area at the Jamaica station in Queens. The AirTrain was shut down Sunday, and remained at a halt through Monday. (Dec. 27, 2010) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Officials said JFK reopened Monday at 6 p.m. for flights. LGA reopened at 4 p.m. with 8 arrivals expected after 7:30 p.m. Monday. All departures at LGA tonight are cancelled, however officials said there will be departures in the morning.

Most flights out of Long Island MacArthur were canceled in the wake of the blizzard that hit the region with punishing winds and deep snowdrifts. By Monday afternoon, Southwest Airlines had canceled all flights until 9 a.m. Tuesday. U.S. Airways resumed partial service at 5 p.m. Monday to prepare for two incoming flights. Some general aviation flights have been coming and going throughout the day.

Airport officials advise passengers to check with their airlines before heading out to the airports to catch their flights.

The aviation halt has left thousands stranded at JFK and LaGuardia overnight and into Monday. Early Monday morning, at least 200 people were trying to sleep at the JetBlue terminal at JFK. Many more were waiting on grounded airplanes.

Many people have been stuck at JFK since Sunday, after the Port Authority's AirTrain and shuttle-bus service to and from the terminals was canceled due to the weather. Exhausted travelers who had spent a fitful night in the terminals spent Monday morning trying to leave the airport, descending on the cabs that arrived sporadically at the terminals.

Matthew Davison, 35, of Locust Valley flew in to JFK from a week's vacation in Jordan. He tried to hail a cab, then tried to get on the AirTrain and a shuttle bus before finally giving up on leaving the airport.

"I gave up and came back in and went to sleep," Davison said. "It's kind of stressful just not knowing what's going on, that was frustrating last night - nobody seemed to know what was going on ... Now I just want to go home to my apartment, shower and get some sleep."

At Long Island MacArthur Airport, no flights departed after 2 p.m. Sunday, but only one passenger - a man trying to head to Florida - was stuck at Long Island MacArthur overnight, said airport commissioner Teresa Rizzuto.

"I was having a nice cup of coffee with him this morning," Rizzuto said. "He was hopeful. At the moment he's just now still hanging around."

Rizzuto credited the airport's Facebook page, Twitter feed, and the airlines themselves for keeping passengers updated and away from the airport during the storm.

"That was very good for us," she said. "We didn't have any of those problems."

Amtrak announced it would resume limited service between New York and Boston. That line had been shut down since 5 p.m. Sunday. There is normal service between New York and Washington.

With Bill Mason and Michael Amon

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