Severe storms pummel D/FW Airport: 'That's a long wait'

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on May 25, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 25 at 6:52 PM

D/FW AIRPORT — Even though it was bright and sunny, Wednesday was another day of flight frustrations for travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

American Airlines canceled 324 arrivals and departures at D/FW, with more than than 700 flights scrubbed across its system.

About 10,000 passengers were stranded overnight at D/FW as those storms moved across North Texas.

Lucas Ramundo made himself comfortable Wednesday morning in Terminal C. He had already been waiting seven hours for a flight home to Raleigh, North Carolina.

"If we do not get on the 5:30 p.m. flight, then we'll be on standby for the 7:30 flight," he said. "If we miss that flight, then we'll be out tomorrow morning. So that's a long wait."

More than 140 departures from other airlines airport-wide were canceled on Wednesday. Some planes couldn't land to make connections during the storm on Tuesday night; others were pummeled by hail on the tarmac.

About 90 American Airlines jets had to be inspected before being allowed to fly again; 51 of them were knocked out of service and are awaiting repairs.

"A Virgin Airlines plane was taken completely out of service due to hail damage," added airport spokesman David Magaña.

The south side of the airport appears to have taken the brunt of the storm damage. More than 1,000 cars in just two rental lots were so seriously banged up by baseball-sized hail, they had to be hauled away.

"Hail damage just destroyed them pretty much," said Greg Bloomer, as he loaded vehicles onto a double-decker truck operated by Exclusive Auto Transport. "Broke all the glass out of most of them."

Hundreds more passenger cars and taxis were also damaged in the violent storm.

"One whole day lost," lamented passenger Dee Bradfield. He and his wife will waste a valuable vacation day in another airport on Wednesday night trying to get to Jamaica.

"Why does it have to happen now?" he asked with a laugh. "Why not when I go visit my in-laws?"

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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