Updated 12/20/12 at 9:00 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — With a snowstorm hitting the northwest suburbs on the way to the Chicago area, hundreds of flights were cancelled at O’Hare and Midway airports, in many cases leaving travelers stranded.
The Chicago Department of Aviation said more than 500 flights had been cancelled at the two airports as of 8:30 p.m.
Among the snake-bitten travelers at O’Hare were members of the Odeh family from Roscoe, Ill. On Thursday, they were trying to make a flight to Miami to catch a cruise ship Saturday – but no such luck.
Their airline said they could get seats for a Monday flight, but that would be after their ship set sail from Florida. The family opted to drive the 1,500 miles, CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.
Southwest Airlines said it was cancelling its entire schedule of flights departing Midway International Airport starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. Spokesman Brad Hawkins said the airline made a pre-emptive decision to prevent passengers from being stranded at the airport after the brunt of the storm hits the city.
“We don’t want people traveling to the airport to stand in line, when we know that we’re probably not going to be able to provide the best customer service experience, or safely operate the aircraft,” he said. “Be patient with us. Fortunately, this storm is moving quickly.”