D/FW INT'L AIRPORT -- More than 750 departures from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were cancelled Friday.
Late Friday evening, airport spokesperson David Magana said that represented about ninety percent of the schedule.
At least one runway, and sometimes two, were up and running at all times during the day. There are seven total runways. De-icing facilities were being used prior to each and every departure.
American Airlines cancelled 1,000 flights in and out of D/FW. Magana said about 4,000 passengers are expected to spend the night in the terminal.
Inside, lines snaked around airport terminals. Some people said they had flights re-booked only to later find out the new flight had also been cancelled.
Alaine Huntington was trying to get to Los Angeles for a concert.
“I’ve been praying a lot about it,” she said. “You can ask anybody in line. I’ve been on one knee, praying and hoping that I get there. We’ll see how it goes."
Huntington said airport staff was helpful. They were sensitive to the needs of passengers, many who had been on their feet in line and elbow-to-elbow for hours. They handed out free snacks and toiletries. There was also circus or street fair-like entertainment including clowns, sketch artists, and face painters.
While some travelers may not have considered it worth the wait, many said it was a much needed distraction from their travel woes.
Kristie Easter drove to the airport from Gainesville. Her flight to Nashville was cancelled. As she waited in line hoping to get on another flight, she enjoyed a clown’s shenanigans.
“He’s funny,” Easter said. “It gives a little bit of relaxation for the people that are standing here in line.”
Zarna Shah was at the very back of the line around 1:15 p.m. when News 8 caught up with her. She said she was supposed to fly to India. She worried she and her husband wouldn’t even be able to make the drive to the airport in the icy conditions.
They made it, but found themselves among hundreds dealing with long waits and delays.
“We feel really bad because it’s my brother’s wedding that I’m supposed to reach in time. I just hope that I reach it on time,” Shah said.
Roads around the airport were passable, but treacherous, in the afternoon. By Friday night, Magana said that had changed.
Highway 114 at Freeport Parkway (just east of the airport’s north entrance) has been closed by police in Irving and Grapevine due to slick conditions. Motorists are advised to take another route, such as I-635. Near the south entrance of the airport, the Highway 183 eastbound entrance ramp overpass into D/FW Airport was temporarily closed as road crews cleared it of snow and ice.
Some people persisted in their efforts to get to their destinations, while others eventually just gave up.
“I’m kind of thinking I’ll just cool my heels with my sis in Dallas, and then on Monday go back to L.A.,” Blaine Houserman said.
Houserman was on his way to Mexico City from Los Angeles. He said he got a connecting flight in Dallas hoping to save money on airfare. Instead, he said he spent the saved money on a hotel and then eating and drinking in the airport.
The good news was that many airlines were waiving change fees for passengers whose flights were affected by the weather.