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CNN Today

Holiday Travelers Grounded By Cancellations at Hartsfield International Airport

Aired December 21, 2000 - 2:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Many of you are flying to loved ones' homes today. In some areas of the country, winter isn't being very cooperative. We've been expecting to get a little snow and sleet here in Atlanta.

And I can't see a window from here, so let's check in with Brian Cabell at Hartsfield International to see if the weather has turned sour yet -- Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Natalie. You might recall a couple days ago we had what we consider here in Atlanta to be a major snowfall: all of two or three inches blanketing the metropolitan area. There was fear that we might have something similar today. It hasn't really developed, though. What we've had for the last I'd say four hours or so has been a light freezing rain. We were told maybe some sleet, maybe a slight accumulation of snow. It doesn't look like it's going to happen right now, so it hasn't created as much trouble as we thought it might.

As a result, most flights have been able to get out of here today. This is our camera outside looking out at the tarmac. No major problems for planes trying to get out of here. However, Delta Airlines, the major carrier here in Atlanta, has canceled about 20 percent of its flights between 9:00 this morning and 4:00 this afternoon. They say they needed that time to deice their planes. The other airlines, no major problems with them -- a few cancellations, that's all.

But with those Delta flyers, of course, a lot of people taking some time to rest, for two hours, four hours, six hours, eight hours, perhaps even more, because their flights simply aren't there, their connections aren't there. And not all of them are terribly happy about this little respite here at Hartsfield International.

And with me right now is the Dethrich family from Cincinnati.

Where are you headed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disney.

CABELL: And what happened so far today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We left Cincinnati late and got here late, and now our connecting flight's gone and we're stranded here.

CABELL: When are you hoping to get out of here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we're on standby for 4:10, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for that.

CABELL: And if that doesn't occur, then what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the next flight I think was a 5:50 flight, and that's the last one to Orlando, they said, so I don't know.

CABELL: I don't want to be a pessimist, but what about after that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, she's going to have -- they're going to have some really unhappy travelers if we don't get to Orlando tonight.

CABELL: How are the kids doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doing pretty good considering for their first flight. It hasn't been a real good experience, though.

CABELL: You're going to Disney for the first time, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes.

CABELL: And what are you hoping to do down there?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Probably ride some rides and just have fun.

CABELL: What about your experience here at the airport so far? Not so much fun?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Uh-uh.

CABELL: Were you expecting this sort of problem here? Did you know there was going to be a possible snow fall, perhaps some sleet, rain, anything like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We checked the weather and, yes, as far as I can tell, none of the other airlines have canceled.

CABELL: And why is Delta canceling, do you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no clue.

CABELL: Have you asked? Has anybody asked?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Try to get to a person to ask. The ticket lines are so long you can't get up to anywhere to ask anything. So...

CABELL: So how are you passing the time? This is supposed to be a fun time for you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we've just been walking through the airport, getting some stuff to eat, and we're pretty much ready to get on a plane now.

CABELL: Well, good luck to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

CABELL: Again, this is the Dethrich family of Cincinnati. The kids are on a plane for the first time, going to Disney World for the first time. But right now, they're trying to enjoy their stay at the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield International Airport here in Atlanta.

I'm Brian Cabell, CNN, live.

ALLEN: And, Brian, don't tell them that the lines are even longer at Disney World when they get there. At least the weather will be nice.

(LAUGHTER)

CABELL: I'll keep it a secret.

ALLEN: Thanks, Brian.

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