Air travelers express frustration over delays from FAA furloughs

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by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 22 at 6:20 PM

HOUSTON – Spending limits imposed on the Federal Aviation Administration from government sequester cuts took effect Monday as the furloughs for 47,000 employees were slowly being implemented.

Each employee, including 15,000 air traffic controllers, will lose one day of work every two weeks.

“The government needs to get its act together with all of this obviously,” Debbie Alexander, an air traveler, said.

At Bush Intercontinental Airport there were no delays beyond the usual, but some travelers passing through did express frustration over delays elsewhere.

“Another plane was at our gate. That’s why we couldn’t roll into our gate from San Diego and to Los Angeles,” Jo Priddy said.

The biggest delays are expected on the east and west coasts, where according to the FAA, planes may have to take off and land less frequently to ease the burden on controllers.

“It’s going equal a helluva lot of time, excuse my French, of not getting where we need to go within the correct amount of time. Don’t you think?” Jim Catlin, another traveler, said.

At least one industry analyst doesn’t, saying this is nothing more than political gamesmanship.

“When the FAA was shut down a few years ago, flights weren’t affected,” Henry Hartveldt, an analyst travel industry, said. “It seems to me like there is a request or directive out there to take steps so that passengers will be inconvenienced, and they’ll call their elected officials to get them to take action.”

Taking action is something a lot of travelers would like to see.

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