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Returning students face airline problems, delays

STEVE KERINS | Thursday, January 13, 2005

For Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students traveling home or for vacation over winter break, airport hassles in South Bend, Chicago and elsewhere caused delays and frustration.Numerous incidences of severe weather, increased volume at major airports due to holiday travel and logistical issues combined to produce increased delays and cancellations.Airports and airlines began to experience increased problems during Christmas week, causing US Airways and Comair to ground dozens of flights.The airlines also cited increased sick calls from staff and crew and computer troubles as causes. Also, a prolonged cold snap and heavy snows slowed air travel throughout the Midwest.Heavy rains and snow in California and other areas of the Southwest over the past several days have caused major and minor travel delays at airports nationwide.”I had one [flight] cancelled because the plane broke down and another one [was cancelled] because of snow in Nevada,” said freshman Jessica Badger, who was traveling back to Notre Dame from her hometown, Carson City, Nev. “We took an orchestra tour to California,” said sophomore Patrick Wood. “[We] flew [back] to O’Hare. We were delayed by an hour. It was a couple days after they shut down the airport, so they overcompensated.”Freshman Louis Gularte flew from San Francisco to Chicago’s O’Hare airport, where his United flight to South Bend was cancelled. “There was no South Bend flight that I really could have gotten on,” he said, noting that there were too many stand-by passengers for too few remaining flights. “I took the bus back.”Other students experienced problems due to airport issues. “I was going from Los Angeles to South Bend, with a stopover in Cincinnati,” said sophomore Liz Clifton. “The elevators at LAX were broken, and I had to wait an hour and a half to get to the gate. My flight was delayed for two hours because of equipment malfunctions.” In Cincinnati, Clifton found more delays. “The flight to South Bend was delayed seven hours and full from stand-by. I would have had to stay overnight, so I eventually got off in Cincinnati and had my husband Mark drive me to South Bend,” she said

skerins@nd.edu