AIRPORT--Flights to and from Newark and New York airports were cancelled January 27 in connection with blizzards in the Northeastern United States, while on the day before flights came into St. Maarten, but could not leave.
The question of compensation in case of passengers being stranded falls on airline policy rather than the responsibility of ground handlers, who normally organise transport and lodging when needed. In this case the handlers for the airlines were Halley Aviation Services and Arrindell Aviation.
A Halley Aviation representative explained that airlines did not have to provide compensation because the weather situation was something they could not control. However, he said United Airlines, which flies to Newark, had offered passengers an optional alternative route.
United Airlines was confirmed as being expected to depart early in the morning of January 28, but the situation for all aircraft will depend definitively on the weather.
Jet Blue and Delta airline representatives could not be reached for comment, but the same conditions would apply.
No major pile-ups or mishaps at SXM Princess Juliana International Airport were reported during this time. Many travellers were made aware of the weather conditions, which featured on international media as a "potentially historic blizzard" for some days. At least some passengers also were notified of developments by the airlines through e-mail.
The US National Weather Service (NWS) said on Tuesday that its forecasts had been overestimated, especially for New York City, although blizzard warnings remained for surrounding areas.
Although the "arrivals" feed of the SXM Airport Website was kept up to date and showed the cancelled flights, the "departures" feed for Tuesday still listed the cancelled flights as "on time."
Passengers should contact the airlines directly to check their flight status.