Busy day at D/FW as stranded travelers jockey for seats



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Posted on December 26, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 26 at 4:43 PM

DFW AIRPORT – A day after 415 flights were canceled due to inclement weather, a Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport spokeswoman says another 54 were called off Wednesday. 

While airport spokeswoman Cynthia Vega could not say whether the cancellations are weather related, they come hours after nearly 1,000 travelers had to stay the night in the airport due to the wintry conditions.

"It's really a minute-to-minute thing. You have to sympathize a bit. People don't realize how much is going on," said Denny Kelly, a retired airline captain.

Planes and the runways were de-iced for safety on Tuesday. Airport officials say de-icing operations stopped in the evening hours as precipitation diminished. But that didn't stop cancellations from piling up, stranding dozens of planes on the the tarmac on Tuesday. 

"Yesterday’s rapid snowfall, ice and winds required us to implement a deicing program and severely hampered our ability to safely service aircraft as we normally would," Vega said.

As of 7 a.m. all runways were operational. The Federal Aviation Administration reported delays of less than 15 minutes at D/FW Airport. However, some flights were being delayed because of conditions at their eventual destinations. 

At about 12:30 p.m., the weather at Newark International Airport was causing flight delays of 1 hour and 16 minutes. 

Planes headed to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida saw delays of nearly 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flights headed to both JFK International Airport or La Guardia in New York were suffering delays between 70 and 90 minutes on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, flights headed to Philadelphia International Airport were experiencing delays of 2 hours and 40 minutes, the FAA says. All travelers are encouraged to check your airline's website to see if the flight has been delayed.

Conditions on the roads to the airport were also clear, Vega said. The airport expects a busy travel day Wednesday as normal holiday return traffic mixes with Tuesday's travelers.

Email jpanicker@wfaa.com