KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The brutal winter weather taking over the Midwest left many people scrambling to figure out their travel plans Thursday.
Nearly 30,000 people flew in and out of the airport on Wednesday, as many tried to reschedule their flights in order to make it home on time for the holiday weekend.
“We saw a lot of people move flights forward if they could, if they had flexibility in their schedules to not be here early [Thursday] morning as flights were starting to cancel,” said Justin Meyer with KCI.
Behind the scenes, crews worked to keep the airport running and as many flights on schedule as possible.
Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation spokesperson, said it takes airport work crews 45 minutes to clear one of the airport’s three two-mile runways.
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Airport workers have a system of closing one runway while using the other two options. They also use snowplows, blowers, and broom trucks, to keep runways open as safe as long as possible.
However, as Thursday progressed with the snowfall moving out, KCI said it was able to keep all three of its runways and taxiways open.
“Our crews are outside keeping all the snow moving. Airplanes are heading in and out as they can,” McBride said.
Still, many airlines like Delta and Southwest had cancelations or delays for passengers like Rafal Bryda. He was supposed to leave around 5 p.m. for his direct flight to Chicago. However, it kept getting pushed back and became a 2+ hour delay.
“Hopefully it won’t get canceled, but I already have a bad feeling,” he said.
Others at the airport weren’t waiting to catch a flight, but rather pick up a loved one who was delayed getting into the city. “I’m picking up my daughter who’s flying in from Fort Myers.
They’re coming home for Christmas, and the plane’s an hour late, but we’re hoping they’re going to make it,” added Diane Shores.
As of 2:30 p.m., 49 flights were scheduled to leave KCI but nearly half ended up being delayed or canceled.
Meanwhile, others spent Thursday filling up at gas stations ahead of a long trip. FOX 4 spoke with a man named Jeremiah, who was traveling with his family to South Dakota. He said he’s nervous for the 500+ mile drive ahead.
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad. Be careful. Somebody driving, be careful,” he said.
Traveling by train is also an issue, with Amtrak making several cancellations and changes until December 25. For a list of the route changes/closures, view here.