Travelers monitor the boards at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Atlanta. Delta canceled about 350 flights due to inclement weather. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

Hartsfield-Jackson airport operations returning to normal in Atanta

Airlines are returning to normal operations after the storm that hit Atlanta drove hundreds of cancellations, though at least one airline warned that travelers scheduled to fly over the next couple of days should check their flight status.

Delta Air Lines is expected to have a “generally normal day” for operations on Sunday, according to a spokesman.

Southwest Airlines resumed flights Saturday afternoon, but recommended that travelers keep tabs on the status of their flights.

On Saturday, airlines cancelled more than 380 flights, according to Hartsfield-Jackson.

Atlanta-based Delta cancelled more than 170 flights due to freezing rain and icy conditions in Atlanta and other airports in the Southeast.

Dallas-based Southwest cancelled virtually all of its flights Saturday morning, and resumed flying in the afternoon.

The cancellations at Hartsfield-Jackson Friday evening and Saturday left some travelers stuck in Atlanta overnight. Some found hotel rooms in the area, while dozens stuck it out in the terminal.

Airport staff handed out blankets and hundreds of amenity kits to travelers bedding down in the airport. Sleeping passengers were spread across the domestic terminal atrium, in chairs on the lower level and sprawled on the floor on the upper level.

“I tried to get a hotel [but] I’m not familiar with the Atlanta area, said 21-year-old traveler Violetta Kubiak. Her Friday afternoon flight to Fort Lauderdale was cancelled, and she was rescheduled for a flight Saturday afternoon. In addition to storm-related flight cancellations, airlines also cancelled flights to Fort Lauderdale in the wake of the airport shooting there.

Sitting on the floor at Hartsfield-Jackson, Kubiak said: “I’ve just been here hanging around the airport, trying to pass time.”

More travelers who arrived at the airport Saturday morning for departures learned their flights had been cancelled or delayed until later in the day or were rescheduled for Sunday.

Travelers Kimberly and Barry Buie of Hilton Head were headed to St. Maarten for vacation when a 2.5-hour delay of their flight to Atlanta led them to miss their connecting flight. They were rebooked to fly out Sunday, a day later than originally planned.

“It’s really amazing that a little bit of snow” can cause so many flight disruptions, said Barry Buie.

The couple will miss a day of their island vacation, but booked a room at an airport hotel and decided to spend their time in Atlanta relaxing.

“At first you’re upset and frustrated,” said Kimberly Buie. “Now we’re just — you know, go with the flow. What are you going to do. Let’s enjoy it.”

Saturday was the second day of mass cancellations, after 424 Atlanta flights were cancelled Friday. The airport ordinarily handles as many as 2,500 flights a day.

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