Flight delays, cancellations impact holiday travel

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Delay and cancellations at Gerald R. Ford International Airport caused some holiday headaches on Christmas Eve.

This comes after heavy fog in Chicago pushed back connecting flight times, forcing cancellations and delays at other airports.

“We got here around 6 o’clock this morning, but unfortunately our flight was cancelled due to fog in Chicago, so we’re still here,” said passenger Don Staley, whose family is heading to Florida for the holiday. “This is something new. We’ve never traveled on the holidays, so we were quite surprised to come into the airport today and find it not very busy. Unfortunately, we’ve been here all day.”

More than 115 million people were expected to travel this holiday season, according to AAA — one of the largest travel seasons on record. They estimate 7 million people were taking planes to their destinations.  

People who were flying into GRR were also affected by the Chicago weather. 

“It was kind of crazy. We were supposed to fly out at 12:30. Then it got delayed to 1:30, then 2:30, then it went back to 1:30, then it got switched to 4:30,” passenger Ethan Roessler said as he described his trip back.

Roessler and his brother say they were trying to make it back home for their family holiday party when the weather warped their plans.

“We actually just drove from Chicago all the way here (GRR.) So now we’re picking up our luggage from Chicago. It’s been a stressful day, but we finally made it,” Jake Roessler said as he stood next to his brother.

Despite the moments of chaos, travelers say they’re excited to celebrate with their families. 

“We’re in college, so we don’t get as much family time as we’re used to, so just having the whole family together celebrating the holiday season is always nice,” Ethan Roessler said. 

If travelling out of the Chicago or Detroit areas in the coming days, AAA expects the busiest travel day to be the day after Christmas. They recommend those travelers carve out extra time to make it to their destinations on time.