Local News

Flights at RDU International Resume Normal Schedules

Posted January 7, 2002

— The winter weather put a deep freeze on some travel plans for travelers at

RDU International

, but things are expected to improve Friday.

RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin says that runways are open, but some early morning flights were cancelled Friday. She says that many airlines have full flight schedules and appear to be on-time.

As always, travelers are urged to call their airline to verify flight information.

While the storm had no major impact on airfield operations, it did affect flights throughout the Southeast and Northeast.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, approximately 20 percent of flights at RDU were cancelled and numerous delays were also reported.

Delta alone cancelled more than 400 flights Thursday, but RDU International is working to keep the schedule moving.

Out on the runway, snow blowers and high-speed snowplows are working feverishly to keep the runways clear and crews are constantly de-icing planes. But despite their efforts, many passengers arrived to find their flights delayed, and worse, cancelled.

Charles Higgins and his family are trying to make the best of what will now be an extended stay. They were trying to get to Japan through Detroit, but the only flight out Thursday morning did not go.

"The next available flight for four people is going to be Sunday morning," he said.

During a snowstorm, the airport adheres to a snow and ice control plan containing detailed regulations for how airports handle snow, ice and slush. The plan is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The important thing to remember is to call the airline to find out about your flight, not the airport. As for the roads leading to the airport, they are minimally plowed, so give yourself even more time to get there.

But what happens if you could not make it to the airport? What happens to your ticket? The good news is airlines are being very flexible.

Christy Smith, Malina Soto and their puppy made the trek to RDU International from Myrtle Beach.

"It was rough. Lots of ice and a lot of snow. The roads were really bad," said Soto.

Since the 3-hour trip took more than 4 and a half hours, Soto missed her flight to Rochester.

"I was really worried about paying extra," she said.

But Northwest simply booked Soto on a later flight without penalty.

"He just said I'll leave two hours later. I asked for extra charges and he said no, so I'll just be home two hours later, but I'm going home, so I'm happy," she said.

In fact, the airlines WRAL talked with said any flights missed because of weather Wednesday through at least Friday of this week can be re-scheduled without penalty or the fare can be applied to a future flight.

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