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Family takes 21-hour train trip home after canceled flight to NYC

The Patrick family is among the stranded air travelers who could not find flights back to the New York City area and resorted to taking the train.
Families board train.
Posted at 11:52 AM, Jun 29, 2023

The gentle swaying of the Amtrak train headed to New York City is lulling passengers to sleep. Ashley Patrick gets up to tuck her son and daughter in blankets as they nod off. 

It's just after midnight on Thursday, about 11 hours after the train departed the station in Orlando, Florida. The Patrick family is among the stranded air travelers who could not find flights back to the New York City area. 

The family visited Walt Disney World for a vacation with a flight scheduled back to JFK International Airport Tuesday. They waited all day at the airport. The flight was consistently pushed back, and then it was canceled. 

"I understand weather. It's the communications," said Patrick, who lives on Long Island. 

What she's upset about is the airline held the passengers there without communication about what was going on. She vowed to never fly that airline again after the family had to spend a day at the airport and extra money on a hotel. There was no reimbursement as the flight cancellation was weather-related.  

Scripps News reporter Mary Chao boards a train.

Scripps News reporter books train after days of flight cancellations

Mary Chao decided to book a 21-hour train ride from Orlando to New York after several days of flight cancellations.


The train was the best option, even though it would be 21 hours, Patrick said, adding that she didn't want her children, ages 7 and 10, to deal with waiting at an airport. 

On the train ride, the Patrick children played on their electronic tablets, got food from the dining car, laughed and wrestled with each other before tiring out and falling asleep. It's been a long week between Disney and travel headaches. 

Just ahead is the busy Fourth of July weekend. The American Automobile Association projects a record weekend with over 50 million Americans expected to travel 50 miles or more. 

Planes, trains and automobiles will be the modes of transportation. For the Patrick family, they plan to lay off the plane mode for a while.