JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Warren Awtrey flies to Jacksonville from New York once a month to care for his aging father, but Monday he says he sat on the runway at JFK longer than usual.
"It took about a half an hour today," he said.
Pilots told him this is a direct impact of FAA furloughs.
"The pilot said that we might be in line a long time before take off because of sequestration issues," said Awtrey.
Effective immediately, control tower employees must take one unpaid day every two weeks as the FAA braces for budget cuts.
Local travelers like Awtrey are starting to feel the sting. Passengers are already seeing delays connecting to bigger airports like New York and Atlanta. The hubs are now forced to handle the same amount of traffic with less staff.
"With a lot of our traffic going to those hubs or coming from those hubs you could experience a delay in flights arriving if traffic is backed up," said Michael Stewart, spokesman for JIA.
Gov. Rick Scott is calling the decision irresponsible.
"It doesn't make any sense why we would be doing this," he said. "It's gong to impact delays at all of our airports in the state, impact tourism because people wont want to come because of delays. It's going to affect business in the state. It's absolutely the wrong thing to do."
Travelers are calling the decision an added headache.
"It was a little bit of a surprise this morning," admits Awtrey.