TODAY   |  October 31, 2012

Airports slowly open after Sandy

NBC’s Tom Costello reports from the re-opened Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., which is operating with limited service, as are airports up and down the East Coast, though travelers still face a lot of waiting.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the travel nightmare caused by this storm. text tends well beyond the northeast to airports and train stations all across the country. nbc's tom costello is at rage abe national airport which, by the way, is back in business this morning. tom, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. systemwide another 2,600 flight cancellations today. that brings the total now to about 18,000. behind me though, this airport is bubbling to life. look out the window. we've got a couple of planes on the ramp here which is nice to see. the real problem though remains new york city . we have got newark airport and jfk on limited operations today, and laguardia remains closed. day three of a massive travel nightmare, and so much of it centers on new york city . flooding everywhere. the subway closed. the new jersey/new york p.a.t.h. train under water, and this, the big apple 's three airports all struggling. floodwaters at laguardia were right up to the jet bridges .

>> runways are flooded, and there are no flights leaving or arriving. how much damage was done to the navigation equipment and lighting around them, we don't know yet.

>> reporter: with new york and the northeast accounting for roughly a quarter of all u.s. air traffic every day, hundreds of thousands of travelers are anxious to get home, stranded in san francisco .

>> i was out. gas leaks all over the place, flooding, and i don't know what to expect when i get back? all the way to london.

>> the earlier i would be able to fly to boston is on friday, the 2nd, and that would just be to boston , not even new york .

>> reporter: at airports nationwide it's been three days of travel strategizing.

>> and we're going to have to take a flight to atlanta and a flight from atlanta to phoenix. if not we'll go back to charlotte, charlotte to houston and houston to phoenix.

>> reporter: this is god news, boston , philly, chicago and washington are taking flights, going from deserted ghost towns with no planes and nothing open to a few flickers of activity. at reagan national the first planes pulled in midday tuesday, a welcome site for those trying to get home to alabama.

>> had my flights cancelled all day yesterday and now it looks like delta is going on time today at 4:00. i'm feeling lucky.

>> but the airlines still have many planes parked away from the disaster zone at airports all over the country. not even close to resuming normal operations.

>> i think realistically the system is going to start to get back to normal late weekend, early next week. we certainly have a large backlog of travelers that will need to be rebooked as well as very full flights later this week and into the weekend.

>> reporter: that is not what emily wants it hear. she has pressing business back in phoenix.

>> because i'm going to do halloween in phoenix with my friends.

>> reporter: got to keep your priorities straight. we also need to tell you what's happening with amtrak, serious disruptions along the northeast corridor . let's show you that very quickly. there is, because of new york city 's tunnels being flooded out, there are -- there is no acela express service at all today and probably not tomorrow. no new york city to boston service, no new york city to buffalo, montreal or vermont. the bottom line is if you're trying to go anywhere south from newark, south, in other words, on down to d.c., richmond what have you, you probably have service. if you're trying to go north of newark, you're out of luck. back to you guys.

>> all right. tom costello at reagan national this morning, tom, thanks very much.