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Travel Plans Tripped Up by Blackout

From New Yorkers not being able to catch their faithful subway to national airline delays, the blackout of 2003 is causing stoppages in transportation all over the country.

Airline passengers trying to travel Friday found canceled flights and long delays at some airports as the nation's aviation system sought to recover.

US Airways canceled all of its flights through New York's LaGuardia airport through mid-afternoon, and all of its morning flights out of Detroit. American Airlines reported 183 cancellations due to the blackout and said service to LaGuardia, New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Detroit might not resume until late Friday.

Continental Airlines' hub at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport was up and running, but the airline canceled several morning flights out of Cleveland. JetBlue canceled 20 flights to and from New York's Kennedy airport.

At Newark, several hundred people were lined up at the American Airlines ticket counter in the morning.

Nakisha Nesmith, 24, of Los Angeles, flew in Friday morning from Brazil. Her plane was diverted to Newark from Kennedy, and she missed her connection to the West Coast.

"Now, we have to wait on this line to see when we can get out of here. We have no idea when we're leaving," Nesmith said.

Airport conditions were dire for passengers waiting for flights. LaGuardia is suffering a sea of problems including no lights, toilets that don't flush, computer systems only working on and off and vendors running out of food.

Passengers are sitting in the sweltering terminal on their baggage while gate agents are using flashlights in the darkness to manually check in people for flights.

The blackout that struck about 4 p.m. Thursday caused the biggest problems at six major airports: Newark, Cleveland, Toronto, Ottawa, and New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia. Most flights were halted for several hours, backing up air traffic nationwide and in Canada.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines said they did not know how many flights overall were affected.

The problems at the six airports were not related to air traffic control. Rather, there was no power to run the metal detectors and X-ray machines at security screening checkpoints.

Planes already in the air were allowed to land, directed by air traffic controllers operating with emergency power. That also allowed controllers to continue to direct flights to and from other airports.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the system slowly was returning to normal Friday.

"They're trying to catch up," Brown said, referring to airlines "They have equipment all over the place."

Meantime, Amtrak resumed limited service between Washington and New York, but service between New York and Boston remained on hold.

In New York, officials said there would be no morning or evening rush-hour service on the city's subways. Workers who come in from the suburbs were warned of similar disruptions on the two commuter lines, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

City buses, though, were running on time, with plenty of seats -- and air conditioning.

NY Waterway, the region's largest ferry operator, estimated it carried 200,000 passengers off Manhattan Thursday night, surpassing the 160,000 it handled on Sept. 11. All 50 boats in its fleet were utilized.

But Friday, NY Waterway found fewer people heading into Manhattan than on a normal morning.

Cars were getting over and under the Hudson River, via the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the George Washington Bridge. The Staten Island crossings were open, and trains on the PATH system were running from New Jersey.

Fox News' Amy C. Sims, Alisyn Camerota and The Associated Press contributed to this report.