FAA Warns of Delays due to Air Traffic Control Furloughs

The FAA says sequestration-mandated spending cuts could mean flight delays of at least an hour and maybe more.

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Delays Could Reach an Hour or More

The federal budget cuts that are forcing the federal government to furlough air traffic controllers for, as the LA Times reports “about one day per two week pay period.”

Airlines for America, a trade group for carriers has sharply criticized the plan but the FAA has essentially said they have no choice in the matter and cannot postpone this action.

Airlines Don’t Appear Worried

According to airfare analyst Rick Seaney, “So far, the airlines don’t seem to be worried about furloughs.” He points to the recent airfare hike led by Delta, and adds that there have been no reductions in flights. Seaney also says it’s unclear how painful any delays will be: “The question is how will this be handled by the FAA – to minimize or maximize passenger anguish.”

Travelers Should be Prepared to Wait

To be on the safe side, though, flyers traveling this weekend and beyond should prepare for a wait in the airport. A couple of suggestions:

  • Stay in touch with your airlines for updated delay information
  • Make sure all electronics are charged up and you have chargers on your person
  • Make sure you bring snacks and something to entertain yourself with – especially important if traveling with children


Published: April 19, 2013