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Cops called as delayed Kennedy passengers get unruly

Authorities were called to the Delta terminal at

Authorities were called to the Delta terminal at Kennedy Airport to manage a large, unhappy crowd, a source said. Credit: AP File, 2008

Tempers ran hot Tuesday at Kennedy Airport's Delta Air Lines terminal as customers who had been trying to get to Haiti for two days became unruly, according to the Port Authority.

Port Authority police officers were called to manage "a large crowd" Tuesday and responded between 9 and 10 a.m., spokesman Steve Coleman said.

Calm was restored by 11 a.m., and no one was injured. There were no arrests or citations issued for disorderly conduct, he said.

Delta added another flight to Haiti Wednesday to accommodate standby passengers who were not able to fly Tuesday, said Suzanne Elliott, a Delta Air Lines spokeswoman in Atlanta.

That flight - leaving at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, is in addition to a regularly scheduled flight at 8:50 a.m., Elliott said. "We're continuing to identify those markets where we need additional seats," she said.

Tuesday's turmoil - largely, frustrated people speaking loudly to Delta personnel, Coleman said - was sparked when people on standby were trying get tickets for a flight to Port-au-Prince. A flight Sunday was canceled because of the storm.

Some were unsuccessful. Many of the passengers elected not to take refunds but sought seats on the next flight to Port-au-Prince to "make it home for the holidays," Elliott said.

Some unhappy customers posted messages on social networking sites during the height of the event, Coleman said.

"People were tweeting and texting," Coleman said. "People were going crazy."

Delta Air Lines said a flight to Port-au-Prince scheduled for Sunday was one of scores that were canceled because of the weekend snowstorm.

The storm disrupted travel at Kennedy and other area airports, forcing airlines to cancel flights and scramble to book passengers on flights Monday and Tuesday.

More than 1,200 flights were canceled at the authority's three major metropolitan airports.

With Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

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