Hundreds Of Travelers Stranded Overnight After Storms Cancel Flights

CHICAGO (CBS) — The effects from Thursday night’s thunderstorms were still being felt Friday morning at Midway and O’Hare airports, with some passengers experiencing extremely long delays.

Midway International Airport was bustling at 6 a.m. Friday, with huge lines at airline counters, as people stranded overnight tried to get on early morning flights. Some passengers complained about 3 ½ hour waits to check in.

The lower level at Midway looked more like a hotel, as hundreds of people grabbed some shuteye anywhere they could.

“No hotels, no cars. So, kind of stranded, literally. Nothing you could do,” said Darrin Lade, of St. Louis.

More than 100 flights in and out of Chicago were canceled Thursday night due to heavy storms that rolled through the area.

More than 140 flights have been canceled in the past 24 hours at O’Hare International Airport as of 7:15 a.m. Friday, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. More than 340 flights at O’Hare were delayed at least 15 minutes.

At Midway, at least 19 flights have been canceled in the past 24 hours, as of 7:15 a.m. Friday. Another 82 flights were delayed at least 15 minutes.

Southwest Airlines, the largest carrier at Midway, said it had several flights delayed or canceled due to the weather on Thursday.

“Many flights in Chicago and several other Southwest destinations have been delayed or cancelled due to weather-related factors. Southwest Employees are committed to operating safely, while minimizing the inconvenience to passengers, during conditions that have caused operational challenges in a number of cities. Our hope is to work through these issues and return to normal operations as soon as is safely possible,” the airline said in an email Friday morning.

Skies have cleared, and no significant rainfall was expected until Sunday, which should help airlines catch up.

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