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CNN Today

Travel Delays Create Domino Effect at Nation's Airports

Aired December 22, 2000 - 2:43 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: Wear pajamas if you're going off to the airports. We've been checking in with airports all across the country and we've seen that they're all quite busy on this Friday before Christmas.

Let's check out the situation now at Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport. Joining us is reporter Kathy Kronenberger, who is with our affiliate WJW-TV.

Kathy, how are things going there?

KATHY KRONENBERGER, WJW-TV: Well it's starting to get interesting. People are just leaving work and coming here to the airport to the leave on their holiday vacations. The weather is holding out good, and Continental is our big hub flier out of here and they -- most all of their flights are on schedule, which is the good news.

The bad news is there are a number of cancellations and delays with other airlines. The biggest problem we've seen here was American Airlines flight to Miami. It was supposed to leave at 6:53 this morning. Nine hours later, the people were still here waiting to leave. They were told, after sitting on the runway for two hours, that the plane had been left out in our sub-zero temperatures overnight, causing the water lines on the plane to freeze.

As a result, they brought the people back into the concourse, and then they found more mechanical problems with the plane. At 3:40 this afternoon, those people did get on their flight to Miami.

However, we ran into a family of 10. They were trying to get to Costa Rica. They have already missed their connecting flight. And that's where you're going to see the domino effect. When there's a cancellation or delay over the holidays, all the flights that they could be getting on are also booked. And it makes it very difficult to regroup with your travel plans.

CHEN: Kathy, are they doing anything there to help out for those people who get stuck there for hours and hours and hours at a time?

KRONENBERGER: Well they did bring out some water and some sandwiches finally. That was around 2:00 in the afternoon. These people had been up since 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning to get here early for their 6:53 flight. So they were trying to help. And one of the people they gave a rental car to once they did get down to Miami because they had no connecting flight for them to Fort Myers, So they are trying to be helpful.

CHEN: I see that a lot of Ohioans are apparently trying to get to much warmer places.

KRONENBERGER: Definitely.

CHEN: Is the holiday travel usually a weather problem for you guys there in the Cleveland area?

KRONENBERGER: Very often. You never know. We get what's called lake-effect snow from Lake Erie, and that can shut this place down very easily and stop flights. And really it's the cold weather, though. The freezing cold temperatures over the night have wreaked havoc on some of the planes.

CHEN: Kathy, we're you're smart enough to be standing inside the terminal. Thanks very much.

Kathy Kronenberger is from WJW-TV in Cleveland.

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