Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Airports work to recover after snowstorm
By Richard Reeve
WJLA TV Ch 7 (ABC), Washington (DC)
ARLINGTON, Va. (ABC7) — It wasn't quite the trip Bob Smith and his family were expecting.
After a family reunion in Northern Virginia, Bob Smith's two daughters and their husbands drove to Reagan Airport to catch a flight to Boston.
But, thanks to Monday's snowstorm it didn't happen.
"They tried to get on a 6:30 flight last evening and it was cancelled," Bob Smith explains.
So instead, the foursome took a gamble on a roadtrip.
"(They) rented a car and drove from here at Washington National Airport to Boston Logan Airport," Bob Smith says.
Where their cars were waiting.
That's a 444 mile trip, by the way.
"They didn't get home until 3:30 AM," Bob Smith chuckles. "I haven't talked to them directly as to whether it was a harrowing drive or whether it was smooth."
The Smiths aren't alone.
The storm forced the cancellation of 220 flights at Reagan National and 159 at Dulles Airport.
According to the flightaware website, 5,900 flights were cancelled nationwide with nearly 900 flight delays.
Rashad Smith, from Upper Marlboro, didn't like it one bit.
Neither did his wife, who is trying to get to Charlotte.
"She's not used to flying, she doesn't like flying, so that's twice as worse," Rashad Smith says.
The nasty weather led to TWO flight cancellations... and a lot of frustration.
"(She) originally was supposed to catch a flight from Reagan Airport to New York," Rashad Smith explains. "They said up to eighteen inches of snow, so they cancelled that. From there, she was supposed to go to Charlotte from New York, but they cancelled that."
Although some planes are back in the air, the departure boards at Reagan are still riddled with cancelled flights.
But there is good news.
Tarmac crews working overnight have cleared most of the airport's major runways.
Some even have dry pavement.
Still, some airlines -- stymied by the storm in major cities like Chicago, Boston and New York -- are trying to catch up.
"Everything's running on time!" smiles Erin Blankenship, who chaperoning a girl's choir group from Jacksonville, Texas.
Well, not everything.
But the group did snag a direct flight home to Dallas.
"Considering we're not flying to anywhere on the East Coast, it's not quite so surprising," said Blankenship with a grin.
A giant snowflake docorated her sweatshirt.
"So, heading south is a good plan?" she was asked? "Yes!" she laughed.
Although there is improvement, a number of flights are still cancelled or delayed.
Experts advise passengers should check with their airlines before heading to the airport.
,Like roadways, refreezing on airport tarmacs is a concern.
At least the youngsters in Blankenship's group, will have a tale to tell.
"In Texas, there's no snow, so it's pretty cool to be able to come here and see snow," says Micah Ledesma. "It's like a blanket of white that makes everything beautiful."
Bob Smith says he'll just be happy to get on a flight that will take him home to Naples, Florida... and Tuesday afternoon, he and his wife Patty had tickets in hand.
"We're used to hurricanes and we're used to all kind of weather, but not snow," she says.
"Can you believe it?" her husband asked, starting at his ticket, ready to get home--- and back to the sun. "Naples has never had a single snowflake," he smiled.