Winter weather causing travel delays

Passengers face cancelled flights

Published On: Dec 20 2012 06:47:46 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 20 2012 11:15:33 PM CST
line at airport
HOUSTON -

Long lines were common in airports across the country Thursday, including in Houston, because of a winter storm and blizzard that has dropped a lot of snow to a large portion of the Midwest.

By Thursday evening, Southwest had cancelled many of its flights out of Chicago's Midway airport. 

FlightAware.com said more than 1,000 flights in the U.S were cancelled Wednesday.

"My flight was going to Austin then from Austin to DC. But my flight from Austin never came. So after that I was on seven standby flights throughout the day, trying to get to Baltimore and my parents would meet me there," said college student Maura Leahy. 

Leahy said she would try again Friday to fly out of Houston. 

"It's unbelievably frustrating. I've tried to be so patient. And I think I've done pretty well. Overall, I think people have been super frustrated but have handled it well."

By 5 a.m. Thursday, hundreds of people were already lined up at United Airlines' ticket counters at Bush Intercontinental Airport.  

Pearl Jacobs is among those who missed their flight. She did not give herself enough time at the airport.

"Hopefully it won't be a long day at the airport," she said. "I fly out of here pretty regularly. It's bad traffic on the way to the airport so I guess it doesn't work out for me."

Mattie Pier also missed her flight.

"I have to wait in additional services and wait to see what happens -- maybe have to get on another flight. I'm not even sure the line is really long outside," she said.

Dec. 20 is one of the busiest days of the Christmas travel season and the weather is making things worse.

Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit were all hit hard with heavy snow Thursday, delaying or cancelling hundreds of flights. De-icing and backed up runways means a ripple effect in delays in Houston and other cities across the country.

The Christmas travel period stretches through Jan. 4. More than 1.9 million passengers will pass through Bush Intercontinental Airport. Hobby Airport is expected to have 493,000 passengers.

AAA warns it's not just airports that will be impacted. Roads are going to be slow as well.

In all, more than 93 million Americans are expected to travel for Christmas.

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