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Storms disrupt flights at FLL causing long lines of frustrated travelers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Shannon Andino is among the many people who said on Monday that they are tired of waiting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The storms on Sunday prompted airlines to cancel flights. Some of the long lines spanned far inside Terminal 3. Andino was hoping to fly to Newark, New Jersey.

She said her husband had to leave the terminal with their daughter, who has autistic spectrum disorder. She suffered a panic attack amid the chaos.

“Right now, we have been waiting close to 24 hours,” Andino said.

Shannon Andino, left, waits for an update on her flight to New Jersey on Monday at FLL. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

Jet Blue announced “dangerous weather conditions” caused them to reschedule flights. A spokesperson for Jet Blue said the airline is trying to accommodate everyone who was affected.

The flight disruptions continued on Monday. As of 12 p.m., there were still people packed in lines, unable to secure a flight. According to Arlene Satchell, a spokeswoman for the Broward County Aviation Department, FLL was experiencing 71 flight delays and 38 cancellations due to weather-related impacts across sections of the U.S.

Hamada Robinson protests her flight delay on Monday morning at FLL. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

Hamada Robinson said she has been trying to fly home to Philadelphia. She said Flight 7710 was supposed to depart on Monday morning to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“They created fake tickets for everybody to shut everybody up and get them out of the airport,” Robinson said about being rescheduled on Sunday. “They said this flight don’t even exist.”

Robinson said FLL and the airlines made it difficult for people to be able to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have been here since yesterday, 9 a.m.,” Robinson said. “This is not sanitary. It’s covid going on. This is terrible.”

Ana Radice works on Monday at FLL, as she waits for updates on her canceled flight to New Jersey. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

Ana Radice, a dedicated high school teacher from Newark, New Jersey, sat on the floor by a window. She was using her iPhone to work on Monday.

“I have to teach. I have class today,” Radice said. “My kids just returned from spring break, so I have to teach. I mean I’m stuck at the airport. What else am I going to do?”

The storms didn’t only cause flight disruptions and property damage in South Florida. There was also wicked weather in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. According to the National Weather Service, there was also a tornado in Louisiana.

For more information about the status of flight arrivals and departures at FLL, visit this page.

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Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Sandy Antonio contributed to this report.

About the Authors:

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.