Patience Thin On Busiest Air Travel Day of Season

Passengers urged to check with airlines before leaving for airport

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Bad weather throughout the country made the busiest air travel day of the holiday season even more challenging.

Airlines at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport reported nearly 40 cancellations as of 8 a.m., and Midway was reporting about a dozen delays of about 30 minutes.

Patricia Oliver was stranded at O'Hare for the last couple of days, and calls her experience a "nightmare." At this point, she doesn't care if she gets to vists her family in Waterloo, Iowa, or flies back home to California, she just wants to get out of the airport.

"They keep pushing us and bumping us and booting us back," Oliver said. "We slept two nights on the floor."

The aviation department provided cots and blankets to travelers at O'Hare Thursday night after more than 350 flights were called off because of the weather. At Midway, Southwest canceled all outgoing flights after 4:30 p.m. in preparation for the expected snowfall.

Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Karen Pride said the airlines expected Friday to be the busiest air travel day of the holiday period, with 200,000 passengers passing through O'Hare and another 66,000 at Midway.

She urgeddeparting passengers and people picking up arriving passengers at the airports should contact their airline websites for flight status.

Mike Quieto traveled three hours on a bus to get to O'Hare, only to find out his flight was canceled.

"I found out from checking my cell phone, and they didn't announce that until after the bus had already gotten here," Quieto said.

If taking the bus is more your speed, Maureen Richmond with Dallas-based Greyhound Bus Lines says the carrier had delays and cancellations between Minneapolis and Chicago, plus Indianapolis. Spokeswoman Maureen Richmond said the bus line's schedule was expected to return to normal later Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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