Updated 12/21/12 – 10:13 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Friday will be the busiest day of the holiday season at both of Chicago’s airports, a day after hundreds of flights were cancelled at O’Hare and Midway due to the snow.
CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports many travelers were stuck at O’Hare International Airport on Thursday, but the travel picture was beginning to look brighter on Thursday.
Due to the snow and high winds on Thursday, more than 350 flights were cancelled at O’Hare. At Midway, there were 150 cancellations. Southwest Airlines had cancelled all of its departing flights after 4 p.m. on Thursday, but expected to resume a normal schedule on Friday.
“We arrived almost two hours, or an hour-and-a-half before the flight, but I guess security closes at 10:30 [p.m.], so we can’t get past security, even though our flight’s leaving, so we don’t have anywhere to go now. So that’s the story, and I don’t know what’s happening after that, so hopefully something good.” Kris Libraro said late Thursday night. “We can’t even call the airline and get in touch with anyone, there’s just a long line of people, really unhappy people. So that’s not a good experience.”
About 200 cots were laid out overnight for the hundreds of passengers stranded at O’Hare to provide them a place to sleep.
Even before hundreds of flights were cancelled Thursday, leaving thousands of travelers hoping to get new flights on Friday, city Aviation officials said about 200,000 passengers are expected to fly through O’Hare on Friday, with another 66,000 passengers at Midway.
Overall, 2.4 million people are expected to travel through O’Hare and Midway through Jan. 2.
That made for some very long lines at airline check-in counters early Friday morning, as passengers who were stranded overnight lined up to try to book new flights.
Passengers who managed to book seats on Friday said they feel very fortunate, and those who had been stuck at the airport overnight said they were counting their blessings.
“I got very lucky. I think I got the last flight to St. Louis until Saturday or Sunday, so it just worked out,” stranded passenger Kim DiBenedetto said. “I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. I don’t count on anything until it happens.”