Northeast travel slowly resumes

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Tens of thousands of people have been waiting for airports to re-open following superstorm Sandy. Planes are back in the air and returning to the East Coast, but it's far from a full schedule.

For Joan Fobbs-Wilson it means finally going home two days later than planned.

"It will be wonderful to get home, to know that all will be well in just a few hours...," Fobbs-Wilson said.

Washington area airports saw airlines ramping up service as they recover from Sandy.

Despite the progress, thousands of flights were cancelled today due, in part, to New York airports.

LaGuardia's runways, taxiways and gates flooded during the storm.

"Generally, it takes an airline four full days to recover. The wild card is what's going to happen at LaGuardia to clean up the water and debris," explained Genevieve Shaw Brown, a travel expert.

The region's commuter rail lines were back running. Amtrak restarted limited service along the busy Northeast corridor linking D.C. to New York and Boston. But for now, the end of the line is Newark. Modified service between Boston and New Haven, Connecticut, as well as points south of Newark, N.J. are set for Friday. Modified service in New York City is also set for that day.

Amtrak Spokesman Steve Kulm said, "Our main problem right now is getting in and out of New York. We've been pumping water for the last several days and continued today. Once the water is out, we'll go into the tunnels, inspect them, see what damage there is and make the repairs."

Meanwhile, passenger Jeff Thalmann is heading back to New Jersey knowing Sandy left a big mess to clean up.

"There's no electric, and my car got ruined from the storm...I still have a home. There's no electric, but I still have a home. It's better than being burned out like some people. I'm very grateful for what I do have left," Thalmann said.

Airlines continued to waive fees to change tickets for flights to New York airports. Delta and United said that anyone who planned to fly there through Saturday could change their ticket. However, the re-booked travel still had to begin by Nov. 9, giving travelers a relatively narrow window to make their trip.

American's waiver was broader, covering New York tickets through Nov. 7, and allowing rebooked travel through Dec. 20.

Airports in Washington and Philadelphia re-opened on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.