Here we go: Those promised airport delays, the result of furloughs caused by the sequester, have arrived. All three major NYC-area airports saw flights falling behind schedule yesterday and, as the Washington Post puts it, air traffic controllers "never caught up," with delays clocking in at between one and three hours. Backups at those three airports have the unfortunate tendency to reverberate, and delays started hitting Miami, Los Angeles, and Charlotte in the latter part of the day.
Why? Air traffic controllers—1,500 of them—went on furlough; TSA and customs furloughs also caused backups at some airports. About 10% of all air traffic controllers will be off each day until October, and the FAA predicts one-third of passengers will experience delays during that time. Here's some really awful context: Airlines for America reports that the FAA estimates delays could hit 6,700 flights a day; last year's worst travel day saw 3,000 flights delayed due to weather.