Desperate travellers crowd Puerto Rico airport in hopes of way out

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last week, hundreds remain on standby as airlines slowly return to the island.

SAN JUAN (REUTERS) - At the San Juan International Airport, hundreds of stranded tourists and Puerto Ricans are waiting it out in the brutal aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The airport is slowly coming back online, but with airlines restricted to one or two flights a day as of Sunday (Sept 24), frustrations are growing.

Ms Sherry Gonzalez has been waiting for a flight home to Philadelphia since Friday.

“Sleeping on the floor, without air conditioning, it’s horrible, and I have to sleep here again. It’s very frustrating,” said Ms Gonzalez.

The airport is a top priority for officials on the storm-battered island.

Airlines have had to print flight manifests at a nearby hospital and some customers have received handwritten boarding passes.

United Airlines supervisor Orlando Cordoba is asking passengers for patience.

“Little by little the airport is returning to normalcy. We have deficiencies, we don’t have power, the airport is running on generators. That obviously makes the airport operations more difficult,” Mr Cordoba said.

A difficult operation endured by many just trying to find a seat on a flight home.