Record number of travelers expected in NY-area this Memorial Day weekend on roads and in the sky

ByLindsay Tuchman, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, May 24, 2024
Powerful storms compound holiday travel issues
Josh Einiger has more on the holiday travel mess at LaGuardia Airport.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As the Memorial Day Weekend approaches, Thursday was expected to be one of the busiest travel days of the year, but the getaway day was quickly derailed by powerful storms.

The storms left their mark at LaGuardia Airport Thursday morning, where hours after the bad weather passed through, nearly every flight was hours late.

The departure boards showed only a handful of flights that were on time.

"I didn't realize that thunderstorm that just happened for an hour can cause this massive delay," said Bay Ridge resident John Rosello.

By Thursday night, it was still busy, and getting worse.

"We did what we should have done but now everything is in shambles," Rosello said.

He and his friend Glenda live in Bay ridge, Brooklyn, and got a good fare to Paris, out of Logan Airport in Boston, but when they tried to fly from LaGuardia to Logan in the afternoon, their flight was delayed so long, they missed the flight to Paris.

On Thursday, they were trying to get their bags back to figure out another way to the city of lights.

"People here have been waiting for six hours, they said, to get their bags back and so now I don't know what to do," Rosello said.

The headaches come as the Port Authority expects more than 4 million people at its bridges and tunnels during this travel period, and more than 2 million people at its airports.

That accounts for flying and driving into and out of the New York area during the six day travel peak, which is Thursday through Tuesday.

About 4.2 million will be driving, which is actually consistent to last year, but it's about 2.2 million that will be flying, which is a 2% increase from the record that was broken this time last year.

The Port Authority held a news conference Wednesday ahead of the holiday weekend.

"We have stopped all non-emergency construction at all of our Hudson River crossings. We will be providing enhanced staff at all of our facilities, from path stations to the crossings to the airports," said Rick Cotton, Executive Director, Port Authority.

If you are driving, the worst times with the most congestion was expected Thursday between noon and 6 p.m., due to people leaving work early and trying to hit the road.

But you will hit traffic as well Friday, also between noon and 7 p.m., you'll see the most amount of cars on the road, but that's to be expected.

If you are flying, though, the Port Authority is urging people to take public transportation if you have the option to do so, pre-book your parking, and arrive a little bit earlier than you may for a typical weekend trip.


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