Travelers at JIA get stranded; locals head north to help neighboring states

Oct 29, 2012, Michelle Quedada
At Jacksonville International Airport about 10 flights have already been cancelled and that number is expected to increase. Some local residents are making their way up north to help our neighbors, meanwhile some travelers at JIA are getting stranded.

"Wednesday...Wednesday...too late," says John Pappas, a Boston resident who's flight was cancelled and rescheduled for Wednesday. "I'd rather drive back to Boston, it will take us till Tuesday night."

Frustrated travelers at Jacksonville International Airport are finding alternate routes to get home and as flight cancellations continue to increase across the country so do the number of stranded passengers.

"Well first it was four days, now it's back to three days. We were supposed to fly home Sunday night and now we're flying home Wednesday night," says John Sidlo, a Boston resident stranded at JIA.

Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey has the highest number of cancellations right now, but JIA is seeing departure delays and flight cancellations for cities like Washington, Baltimore, Boston, and New York's La Guardia Airport.

"Well right now we're kind of concerned about the rain. There's already heavy rains in Buffalo and very cold, so we're not sure what we're facing," says Bill Meister, who faced 15-minute delays to is connecting flight to Buffalo.

Sandy has yet to make landfall, but while these travelers are trying to make their way up north, some of Jacksonville's locals are already on their way to help our neighbors prepare for this Frankenstorm.

"31 JEA employees left at 6 o'clock this morning to go up and help Baltimore Gas and Electric. We helped them this summer; they gave us a call yesterday and asked if we would please come up and help in anticipation of the storm that will be hitting in the next 24 to 48 hours," says Gerri Boyce, Spokesperson for JEA.

JEA crews will be on stand-by till the storm passes and be ready to be on the ground helping with restoration. FPL has plans to send crews up north and they say they've already made 244-thousand restorations from power outages in Florida.

Local Red Cross volunteers are also waiting on requests from the national chapter to mobilize.

"As we go into the next couple of days, probably the next 24 to 48 hours, we'll have a better feel on what the needs are going to be in those areas," says Christian Smith, Director of Public Support, American Red Cross in Jacksonville.

And some local Jacksonville Haskell employees also find themselves near those areas of impact. About a dozen supervisors working on a 200-million dollar building project in Baltimore, Maryland are making preparations for the storm.

"We'll secure the job site and make sure any flying debris and things like that are secure and of course we'll also reschedule any work activities that may have been scheduled," says Paul Tyler, the President of Haskell's commercial group during a phone interview Sunday.



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