AirTrain service delays frustrate flyers at Newark Airport

Frustrated flyers heading to Newark Airport on Friday got an unwelcome Christmas gift from the Port Authority — a broken AirTrain at the height of one of the busiest travel days in the year. The train was down for two hours starting about 3:20 p.m., Port Authority spokesman Neal Buccino said. The problem was signal failure, Buccino said. On Twitter, angry flyers were livid waiting in vain for an AirTrain to bring them to their flight. “@united #EWR airtrain not working. No busses. Hundreds stranded. Send #help!” wrote @TyrusEmory on Twitter. “@AirTrainNewark has a station full of people and not handling situations @UnitedAirlines please hold my flight,” @jeffbauer wrote on Twitter. Continue Reading

Wi-Fi access costly for travelers at LaGuardia, JFK, Newark Airports

Wi-Fi at New York area airports won’t make time fly — it’s too expensive and the free version doesn’t get you far, according to Global Gateway Alliance, an airport advocacy group. At Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports, harried fliers get 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi after watching an ad, but then have to pay $4.95 for an hour of internet or $7.95 for the whole day. But 15 of the nation’s busiest airports allow fliers to connect for free — or at least make them fill out a short survey or view a quick ad before getting Wi-Fi on the house, according to a roundup from Global Gateway Alliance. The distraction of the internet has become an important amenity at a time of long security lines and flight delays. “With customers and security wait times on the rise and delays all too common, 30 minutes of Wi-Fi is not enough,” said Joe Sitt, founder of the Global Gateway Alliance. Roughly a fifth of flights departing from the city’s three main airports were delayed this year through April, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. Outside New York, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Miami-Dade Airport are the only others out of 20 airports studied by the alliance that charge for internet. Chicago O’Hare charges $6.95 for 24 hours, while Miami-Dade charges $4.95 for the first 30 minutes, $7.95 for the day, with free access to travel sites for car rentals or hotel bookings. The group suggests the Port Authority, which operates the city’s three major airports, look at Detroit or Las Vegas, where fliers have to watch a commercial before getting Wi-Fi access. The Port Authority, which contracts with Boingo Wireless for airport Wi-Fi, started offering the 30 minutes of free internet at its airports in June 2014. A rep for the Wi-Fi provider said flyers have other ways to get online without paying extra. For Continue Reading

Man who ran past Newark Airport security, causing evacuation of terminal, thought he was being chased: authorities

A Midtown man who caused the evacuation of a Newark Airport terminal was yelling “help” while running from cops because he believed people were chasing him, a law enforcement source said Monday. Andrei Kuzmin, 43, was arrested after he bypassed security and led officers on a chase as bewildered travelers watched Sunday night, a Port Authority Police Department spokesman said. Kuzmin, of E. 51st St., was taken to Newark Beth Israel for a psychological evaluation, officials said. He was charged with criminal trespassing, creating a false public alarm and interference with transportation. During the outburst, 42 outbound flights were delayed between 20 and 90 minutes. Three inbound flights were held at the gate for about an hour. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Haisong Jiang, the grad student who breached security at Newark Airport, cops plea

The lovesick grad student who breached security at Newark Liberty International Airport copped a plea and apologized Tuesday.Haisong Jiang, who slipped under a rope barrier to steal an extra kiss from his gal pal, agreed to pay a $500 fine and do 100 hours of community service for the boneheaded move that caused massive delays."I want to deeply apologize to those [affected] for my breach," the Rutgers doctoral student said outside court. "I just wanted to spend more time with my girlfriend. I made a big mistake, and I also learned a big lesson."His lawyer, Eric Bruce, said the misdemeanor charge of defiant trespassing would not affect the Chinese national's immigration status. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Newark Airport lockdown as man strolls through checkpoint the wrong way

Frustrated travelers were delayed for hours Sunday night when officials shut down a terminal at Newark Airport after a man walked into a secure area without authorization. Dozens of flights were grounded, and thousands of passengers waited late into the night to be rescreened at Terminal C . Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said a man was seen walking down a security checkpoint exit lane into the secure area about 5:30 p.m. Screening was halted in the terminal while authorities looked at surveillance tapes to identify the man, who had not been found. "If they find the person who did this, he's going to be in big trouble," said traveler John Davis. Passengers in the Continental Airlines terminal were evacuated from the terminal and moved to the open side of the airport to go through screening again. The security line was emptied, and passengers were returned to wait in check-in areas about 9 p.m. Joshua Brown of Toronto, who was connecting to a flight to Europe, said the terminal lobby was packed with perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 people waiting to be rescreened. Paula Atkinson was stuck for an hour and a half on an arriving flight that couldn't pull up to the gate because no planes were taking off. "It's frustrating," said Atkinson, 33, of Harlem. "I just want to get off." Alison Day, 47, of York, England, was supposed to leave for Manchester, England, last night. She was traveling home from a Caribbean cruise with a party of seven, including an 18-month-old and a 5-year-old. "I'm not angry that this is happening, but I'm angry that there was a lack of organization," she said. Officials said it was possible the man simply walked the wrong way through the security checkpoint. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Have you seen him? New Jersey officials release video of man who breached security at Newark Airport

UPDATED: New Jersey man arrested for Newark airport security breach. Have you seen this man? He's the rogue Romeo who tied up air traffic at Newark Airport on Sunday, inconveniencing thousands of weary holiday travellers.And all, apparently, for a few more cuddles with his gal pal.Hoping to identify the man who breached security at Newark Airport on Sunday - delaying over 100 flights - New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg released a security video on Thursday that shows a few grainy images of the dopey Lothario, who remains at large."The release of this video will give law enforcement another tool to help find the person who breached the security gate at Newark Liberty Airport," stated Lautenberg. "I encourage this individual or anyone with knowledge of his identity to immediately contact law enforcement."It won't be easy. The Continental Airlines' video is blurry and choppy at best, offering only a rough silhouette of the intruder.What it does show is that the man was warned away from the secure exit-way in Terminal C by a Transportation Security Administration guard at one point, forcing him to stand in the terminal's public area a few steps away.Video shows him loitering in the public area for about four minutes.But then the guard steps away from his podium - a clear breach of his duties - and moments later the intruder slips under a stanchion and joins his girlfriend in the secure area. The woman - who appears to be Asian and is dressed in a puffy white coat - had properly cleared security but clearly was trying to offer one last farewell to her guy.After realizing the podium was unguarded, the two quickly make their move. The love-birds can then be seen walking arm and arm into the terminal, clearly pleased by their fast foot-work.Officials have said that other video shows the man exiting the terminal about 20 minutes later.Anyone with information on the security breach should call Port Authority investigators at (800) 828-PAPD. Join Continue Reading

Security guard faces serious discipline after mystery trespasser shuts down Newark Airport

An airport security guard faces discipline after he left his post - or his senses - and let a mystery man into a secure area at Newark Airport, delaying flights worldwide for some seven hours.The latest airport security blunder comes as President Obama plans to grill his anti-terror team today about recent failings.The unnamed federal Transportation Security Administration guard either abandoned his station or failed to spot the man walking the wrong way into the exit lane at the airport's bustling Terminal C about 5:30 p.m. Sunday, agency officials said.It prompted an evacuation of the terminal and flight delays that stretched into yesterday."There was an officer assigned to the exit," TSA spokeswoman Anne Davis said, adding the guard has been booted from his screening duties as an investigation continues.Davis insisted it's no longer a question of whether the guard will be disciplined. "It's more at what level of discipline," she said.Obama, returning from an 11-day holiday in Hawaii, huddled with CIA officials to discuss the botched Christmas Day attack by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.The radical boarded a plane in Amsterdam with explosives in his underwear - and in spite of his father's warning to U.S. officials his son could pose a threat.Obama has ordered national security officials to the White House today for a broader meeting about the attack, which was foiled, mostly by passengers.The President has demanded accountability from his team, and there has been speculation heads could roll as a result of the near catastrophe.The Newark snafu did little to ease concerns about the nation's air safety. What's known about the lapse in Newark - based on a review of security video - is that the wrong-way walker left the same Terminal C through another exit about 20 minutes later.TSA officials said the agency only learned of the breach after a sharp-eyed bystander noticed the man walk into the secure area.The man remains unidentified, officials Continue Reading

Security measures doubled at Newark airport; chatty guard blamed for breach

Security at Newark Airport was upgraded Tuesday after Sunday's breach, which insiders blamed on a new boneheaded cause: a guard on a cell phone. Two days after an unidentified man walked into a supposedly secure exitway at the airport - forcing a headache-inducing evacuation of the jammed Terminal C - security at every exit was doubled. There will now be two Transportation Security Administration guards at all Terminal C exits, not one, said TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis. But maybe the agency should just take away their guards' cell phones. Sources told The News that the TSA guard at the exit was spotted on security video chatting on his cell phone at the moment of the trespass. TSA officials refused to comment on the specifics of the failure, which delayed more than 100 flights for up to seven hours. "TSA is reviewing all of the circumstances surrounding the breach and how it happened," Davis said. "And if there are lessons that can be learned here, we will take further actions." Sunday's security blunder - coming nine days after a 23-year-old Nigerian with Al Qaeda ties made a botched, Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound flight - did nothing to ease fears about the nation's air safety. Jitters continued yesterday as portions of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were evacuated after a bomb-sniffing dog detected a suspicious bag, although closer inspection revealed nothing dangerous. In Bakersfield, Calif., the airport was shut down for hours after routine swabbing of some bags tested positive for TNT. Inside, five Gatorade bottles filled with amber liquid were found - but the mystery liquid turned out to be honey, local officials said. Newark's screwup began after an unidentified man was spotted by a sharp-eyed bystander on Sunday walking unchallenged into an exitway in Terminal C, where only screened passengers are supposed to be. Video then shows the man, who appears to be Asian, meeting up with a woman in a white Continue Reading

Newark Airport evacuated, workers treated after possible gas leak

TRENTON, N.J. - A security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport was evacuated Saturday as authorities investigated a possible gas leak, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.Transportation Security Administration workers in the airport’s Terminal B noticed a strong odor around 11 a.m. that they thought smelled like natural gas, Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco said. The checkpoint reopened around 1:30 p.m.Emergency workers treated about a dozen people, fire department spokesman John Brown said.DiFulco said those treated were mostly, if not all, TSA workers, and that two of the TSA workers were taken to a hospital in good condition with nausea and dizziness. The section of the terminal around the checkpoint was evacuated as police and the Newark Fire Department investigated. Some arriving flights were diverted to another part of the terminal.Delays were limited to three outbound flights, DiFulco said.Utility workers weren’t able to detect any natural gas or carbon monoxide in the air, said Robin Rasheed-Hernandez, a spokeswoman for Public Service Electric & Gas.The utility still planned to keep workers in the terminal through the afternoon as a precaution, Rasheed-Hernandez said.The cause of the odor was still being investigated. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Mystery odor at Newark Airport

A mysterious odor shut down a section of Newark Airport for about two hours Saturday and led to delays for several hundred travelers, authorities said.The smell, which witnesses likened to natural gas, was reported around 11 a.m. near a security checkpoint in Terminal B, causing several employees and passengers to become ill. "People were gagging. It brought tears to my eyes and my nose clogged up," said Carmen Vargas, who works at Homewords Bound bookstore near the gate. "It was terrible. I couldn't breathe," said Maria Hurley, 48, of Atlanta. The area was closed and cleared of people while the Newark Fire Department and Public Service Electric & Gas investigated the odor. But when no leak was detected, the section reopened around 1:30 p.m. Two Transportation Safety Administration employees were taken to a hospital suffering nausea and dizziness, said Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFulco. Other passengers were treated and evaluated at the scene. The two-hour closure didn't affect arriving flights, which were diverted to another part of the terminal, but it did upend some travel plans. Passengers from three outbound flights were put on buses and taken to adjacent concourses. Other passengers said the delays persisted after the area reopened. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading