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Sequester, Furloughs & DFW Airport Flight Delays

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DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM) – Delayed passengers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport couldn’t blame Tuesday’s weather for their problems. Most of the flight delays were due to sequestration budget cuts, and air traffic controller furloughs.

Regardless of the reason, the result left travelers with no way of knowing if their flight was going to be affected.

At one point delays at DFW Airport were averaging 30 minutes. By 6 p.m. that amount of time had been cut in half.

Passenger Jan White said she is ready for her day of travel to be over. “The pilot kept telling us he thought we were going to make it okay,” she recalled.

White had a few missteps trying to find her luggage at DFW, but the real trouble started in New York when her plane was stuck the tarmac for half an hour. “You could see at least two to three lines of planes trying to merge into one. We just waited our time,” she said.

Traveler Laurie Arbeiter said she had a similar experience. “We boarded on time, but it was way past the time we were suppose to take off.”

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said problems with furloughed air-traffic controllers are to blame for backups and delays across the country. The result added DFW to the list of airports across the country that are experiencing noticeable problems. “The person in front of me I heard was making a connecting flight and he was quite upset,” Arbeiter recalled. “You could feel his anxiety.”

With fewer workers air-traffic controllers are having to space planes farther apart so they can manage traffic as best they can.

At one point on Tuesday, air traffic at DFW became so congested that American Airlines was forced to divert six flights to Dallas Love Field Airport. The diverted planes landed safely, refueled and then continued across town to DFW.

Traveler Sarah Simmons said, “I’ve been gone two weeks and travel a lot. My biggest concern is that this going to happen a lot and it’s not just going to be a one time thing.”

FAA officials call the situation “fluid” and said travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays depending on staffing and weather in their area.

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