It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers as federal budget cuts led to cascading delays along the East Coast Monday morning.
Some flights out of New York and Washington were delayed by more than two hours as the Federal Aviation Administration kept planes on the ground. The federal agency has said furloughs of air traffic controllers could lead to delays if there weren't enough people to monitor busy air corridors.
For instance, the 8 a.m. US Airways shuttle pushed back from the gate at Reagan National Airport six minutes early but didn't take off until 9:58 a.m. The plane landed at 10:48 a.m.—more than two and a half hours later than its scheduled time.
If travelers instead took Amtrak's 8 a.m. Acela Express train from Washington, they arrived in New York at 10:42 a.m.—4 minutes early.
Government budget cuts that kicked in last month are forcing the FAA and other agencies to cut their spending. FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.