Flight cancellations, weather affects students’ travel plans

Heavy snowfall and a winter storm warning is a nasty recipe for air travel. After days of airline delays and cancellations, many passengers are still facing difficulties flying in and out of Chicago. With DePaul’s winter quarter beginning tomorrow, some students will miss their first day of classes due to cancelled flights.

Mark Grossi, a DePaul freshman, was scheduled to arrive at Chicago O’Hare Saturday, Jan. 4, around 7 p.m. After two cancelled flights, Grossi was rebooked to arrive in Chicago late Monday night.

“After my initial flight was cancelled, I was rescheduled to a flight Monday evening, which was literally cancelled by United 10 minutes after I was booked on it causing me to have to get another flight,” Grossi said.

Grossi has two classes on Monday that he will now miss. Flying from Raleigh-Durham Airport, Grossi said “because the flight is a short flight they use a smaller plane, and smaller plane flights get cancelled easily in these weather conditions.”

As of this morning, Chicago’s Department of Aviation reported about 1,200 cancelled flights at O’Hare airport and 60 at Midway. At 11:30 a.m. O’Hare reported an average delay of 1 hour and 19 minutes for arriving flights and Midway reported general delays of 15 minutes or less, according to the FAA.

Sophomore Shahzadhi Nyakhar was scheduled to fly from Denver to Chicago Saturday evening, but woke up to a voicemail that morning saying her flight was cancelled. She was automatically rebooked to a flight arriving in Chicago at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“I definitely am worried about missing the first day of classes,” Nyakhar said. “Luckily, I only have one class, but it’s my hardest one, Chemistry, so I am nervous.”

Nyakhar, who is also traveling on United Airlines, said she saw on Twitter that some passengers were delayed until Wednesday. After seeing that, she said she “took her (Tuesday) arrival time as a blessing and accepted it.”

Southwest Airlines also experienced major cancellations and delays on Thursday and Friday disrupting travel plans for some students.

Senior Taylor Spence, who was visiting her brother in Los Angeles, had her Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago cancelled Friday evening. She said their next available flight was five days later on Wednesday evening.

However, Spence was able to get a flight on Monday afternoon from a different airport in Los Angeles with a layover in Phoenix.

“I hate missing school even when I’m sick so I am worried about missing the first day of school,” Spence said. “I’m still hoping school will be cancelled because of the weather so I won’t have to miss any class.”

DePaul junior Jillian Rice also had trouble with Southwest Airlines who was trying to get back to Chicago from Minneapolis. After cancelled flights on Thursday and Saturday, she decided it would be best to drive back in order to be in Chicago for classes. Rice was also refunded for her ticket by Southwest Airlines.

“I’m thinking most professors will be flexible if students can’t make it in,” Rice said. “The issue is navigating a way into the city, not around it once you’re back.”