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Weather, Labor Problems Cause Clogging at Atlanta Airport

Aired December 21, 2000 - 4:27 p.m. ET

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

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Writers getting a little poetic today -- they want me to paraphrase, here, the song: over the river, over the crowds, through the skies, to grandmother's house they go. But for thousands of holiday travelers, getting anywhere is presenting some daunting travel hurdles today.

CNN's Brian Cabell joins us from the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield International, right here in Atlanta.

Brian, hope you don't have to go anywhere.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, we're not. We've been standing pat all day today, Joie; and today, tomorrow, and on Saturday -- three of the busiest travel days at Hartsfield International, almost a quarter of a million people passing through here on each of those three days. We're told that O'Hare International in Chicago, today may actually have been the busiest day of the year -- more than a quarter of a million people passing through.

Of course, one of the big concerns today here in Atlanta and across the nation: weather. And we were expecting to have possibly some snow, possibly some sleet, some frozen roads. So far that has not come to pass. As a matter of fact, traffic has been getting through all right. It's been cold, it's been rainy, it's been a light frozen rain; but for the most part, nothing terribly serious. We expect more of this rain, and it will get colder throughout the night but, for the most part, no major problems.

Of course, when they get here, what the passengers will find are major lines and also cancellations. Delta canceled about 20 of its flights -- 20 percent of its flights at Hartsfield International; 13 percent of its flights nationwide they say because of weather and also because of labor problems. United Airlines, on the other hand, canceled only about 2 percent of its flights because of some labor problems and also because of weather.

Now, outside, no major problems trying to get the planes out of here; a few delays and there have been some deicings, of course, going on throughout the day. That is one of the problems, according to Delta. But they have managed to get the planes out of here despite those cancellations.

But, again, it has been a busy day, it will be a little bit busier tomorrow and almost as busy on Saturday. Then on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day it will taper off considerably. Hopefully most people will be where they want to be by Christmas Eve.

Joie, back to you.

CHEN: CNN's Brian Cabell down at Hartsfield International Airport.

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