Buffalo Niagara International Airport surpasses all airports in country with highest number of flights canceled
By Allana Bycina
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
If you were one of the many unfortunate ones to have a flight canceled out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport, you certainly are not alone.
This is because the Buffalo site had the highest percentage out of any airport in the whole country of canceled flights, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
WIVB-TV Channel 4 reporter Aidan Joley said, “5.55% of flights from the airport were canceled in 2022, a large jump from 2021, where only 1.43% were canceled in 2021, which put Buffalo 37th on the list. Buffalo was seventh on the list in 2020 and fifth in 2019.”
As many people need to travel to be with family, for work, or just simply for leisure, it can be quite frustrating when your flight is canceled. This frustration has been a frequent issue for many Buffalonians who are trying to travel, and many others who have come in or tried to come out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
“All the money I have lost due to flights being canceled within the last year is jaw-dropping,” said Dawn Ricotta, a frequent traveler and Buffalo native.
Buffalo Niagara International Airport shut down on Dec. 23 and was closed to commercial traffic until Dec. 28 during the historic blizzard.
During the month of November, there was a significant amount of weather that impacted flights, as well. What Buffalonians know as “Snowvember” caused a significant amount of flight cancellations, but did not shut down the airport completely.
Connor Ricotta, transit security officer (TSO) of the Buffalo Airport, explained he’s seen more angry, upset, and distressed travels within the last year than happy and excited travelers. Ricotta screens passengers and luggage for threats as his daily job, and having so many cancellations doesn't only affect the traveler, but also the workers within the airport. The many workers in the airport have had delays in their day, many reschedules in their shifts, and overall, some workers are even sent home.
As of March 28, the total number of delays for the day at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 25. Total delays within, into, or out of the U.S. was also 25.
According to the NFTA, if an airline has to cancel a flight, it would do it in a place like Buffalo – where planes fly with greater frequency – rather than places like Syracuse, where it would be much harder to reschedule that flight.
Not only do these cancellations affect the traveler’s day, but it they take time away from the planned trip, and can result in a loss of money, and certainly time.
Dawn Ricotta has traveled to Alaska and back for family. She said the flight situation within Buffalo has been awful.
Since she has booked her trip to Alaska in December of 2022, not departing until April 2023, there have been three official flight changes causing the trip to be pushed back already. Alaska Airlines out of Buffalo has changed times and routes from the original route of Buffalo to Seattle/Seattle to Fairbanks to Buffalo to Seattle/Seattle to Anchorage, just to go 40 minutes back to Fairbanks.
Buffalo beat out some of the largest transportations centers in the world for cancellations, including LaGuardia (New York), Newark Liberty International (Newark), and Ronald Reagan Washington National (Washington, D.C.) which rounded out the top four.
Travelers in the Buffalo Airport come from all across the country, especially Western New Yorkers and many Niagara County travelers.
A Lewiston traveler said, “I had a flight booked from United Airlines, last month, to Minnesota. It was canceled. My family and I lost an entire day of travel, and missed our children's hockey games.”
The story does not end there. After this, on the commute home, they sat in the airport for 12 hours. Buffalo International Airport kept pushing back the flight, and finally canceled after hours.
No money toward hotel refund, no airline refund, nothing.
As flights continue to get canceled and delayed, here are some tips from travelers who have experienced this issue:
√ Plan a road trip
√ Budget for cancellations
√ Insure your flights
This is a Niagara University student-created piece completed as part of the course CMS 226A. For more information, contact the Niagara Frontier Publications’ managing editor.