Airline flight schedules returning to normal after storm

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Credit: Kelly Yamanouchi

Flight operations are expected to be back to normal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Monday after airlines recovered over the weekend from two days of storm-related flight cancellations.

Hundreds of flight cancellations and delays on Friday and Saturday left some stranded at the airport.

Delta Air Lines said it was in recovery mode Sunday and accommodating passengers whose flights were cancelled the previous two days.

Long wait times for airline customer service have continued, as travelers seek help to get rebooked on flights to their destinations.

"While the call volume is currently up, our anticipation is that our ability to respond to customers will improve over the next several hours," said Delta spokesman Anthony Black late Sunday afternoon.

Delta said its customers whose flights are cancelled can rebook themselves via the Fly Delta app or the airline's website.

Delta cancelled a couple dozen Atlanta flights Sunday, the after-effects of some of the airline's more than 170 flight cancellations Saturday. Most passengers were re-accommodated Sunday, but some rebookings will extend into Monday.

Flight operations are expected to be good overall on Monday, said Delta spokesman Anthony Black.

The regular flow of weekday business travelers is expected to resume.

"Mondays are always busy," according to Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Reese McCranie.

Even though Atlanta's storm was milder than expected, winter weather elsewhere in the country caused other flight disruptions. Delta's flights in New York and Boston were affected, for example. Southwest Airlines said travel to Seattle, Portland, Boise and Spokane may be disrupted through Monday.

Most passengers spending the night at the Atlanta airport over the weekend after their flights were cancelled end up sleeping on chairs or on the floor.

Also among those stranded in Atlanta are active members of the military. The USO at Hartsfield-Jackson stayed open 24 hours a day through the storm to help care for military personnel whose flights were cancelled and didn't have a place to stay.

The USO on an upper level of the domestic terminal atrium had more than 70 members of the military and their families staying over on Friday night, and more than 60 on Saturday night, with more expected to stay over Sunday night while waiting for flights out.

"It's now impacting the airports in other areas, so we're feeling that now too," said USO Council of Georgia president Mary Louise Austin.

Amid the frustration, some travelers whose flights were cancelled over the weekend sought to make the best of a difficult situation.

"It sucks that a lot of people have had their flights cancelled," said traveler Jamilla Karemo, whose flight from Atlanta to Houston Saturday was cancelled. But "I think it's sort of necessary," she said.

Over the weekend, airlines also resumed flights to and from Fort Lauderdale, after the Friday shooting in a baggage claim area led to a temporary shutdown of the terminal where Delta operates.

Delta on Sunday resumed its full flight schedule to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's Terminal 2, but moved its baggage claim to Terminal 3.