“It’s been a nightmare,” said traveler Greg Hall of Roanoke, Va., who was returning from a business trip to Louisiana. His group overnighted in Atlanta after a delayed flight, then finally rented a car after Thursday morning flights were cancelled.
“It’s been kind of a fiasco … Just had to bag the airline flight,” he said.
Delta spokesman Michael Thomas said the nature of Wednesday’s storms made them harder to predict and complicated recovery. Airport ramps must be closed when lightning is close, adding to the problems.
Then, the resulting flight cancellations cascade to affect subsequent flights.
“When an airplane doesn’t fly, it means that crews aren’t getting to where they need to be,” Thomas said, also citing limits on how long crews can be on duty before a required rest period.
Many travelers were still frustrated with the fallout.
Belinda England, of Glasgow, Ky., was returning with family from a vacation in Cancun, and said their delayed flight arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson around 2 a.m. Thursday. They missed their connection home and eventually arranged to have someone drive them back to their car in Nashville.
“I’m a travel agent, and I’m very, very upset with Delta,” England said. “I know weather is not their fault, but they had ample time to get their act together.”
It was “the perfect storm — and we got caught in the middle of it,” England said.