Stranded Travelers Weary, but Cheery

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) - Storms throughout the northeast and our region certainly took a toll on travelers Friday night.

At one point, more than half the flights in and out of McGhee-Tyson were either delayed or canceled.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel caught up with some "weary" but "cheery" travelers.

Whether it's family reunions or birthday surprises, we found some travelers who weren't letting weather delays put a damper on their weekend plans.

"Couple of days ago... was it yesterday, or the day before? ...something like that!" traveler Georgia Neilson said.

When you're traveling as long as Dan & Georgia Nelson have been, it's hard to keep track of time!

"We came to Chicago from San Jose. We were up two o'clock your time yesterday," Dan Neilson said.

Since then, it's been quite the trip.

"We landed in Chicago where there were thousands of people kinda clamoring around and each one kind of complaining of long lines, i didn't know what had happened," Georgia said.

What had happened was the weather. Bad storms in the MidWest wreaked havoc on travelers. In fact, by six Friday evening, all but two flights leaving McGhee-Tyson were delayed or canceled. The same for dozens of arrivals leaving folks like Candace Jandilo waiting for family to arrive.

"It's frustrating because we've been planning this for a couple months now and we're just worried that something's going to happen and they're not going to make it," Jandilo said.

She's meeting her brothers here to surprise their father for his 70th birthday. As for the Neilsons, family is their focus as well. They're headed to the George-Washington-Brown Reunion, but getting this far hasn't been easy.

"For the next 10, 7 to 8 hours we sat in O'Hare Airport trying to get to Knoxville, Tennessee," Georgia said.

No such luck.

"Got up at 4:30 in the morning to try again," Georgia said.

"We got the last two seats," Dan said.

And as if they haven't been in the airport long enough, they're still there!

"There's one family we're waiting for until midnight tonight to pick them up and drive them over to Greeneville," Georgia said.

They don't have any luggage, but they do have each other and a tremendous amount of patience!

"It's not going to ruin the whole trip because we have fine relatives in Knoxville," Dan said.

Also on Friday, an FAA computer glitch at La Guardia Airport in New York threw another kink into travel plans for hundreds of flyers along the east coast. Not an ideal day to be traveling.


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