By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4) – The Federal Aviation Administration grounded hundreds of flights at Denver International Airport after a storm cell developed over the airport Friday.
The delayed passengers created longer lines Saturday for other passengers checking in to fly out of DIA.
A total of 630 flights were delayed and 102 flights were cancelled due to the storm, said Heath Montgomery, spokesman at DIA.
An airport event notification stated that Frontier, United, and American Airlines ticket counters were all experiencing lines outside of their queue areas.
Montgomery said the airlines were playing catch-up to get customers out on other flights to reach their destinations.
The storm moved over DIA late Friday afternoon, blocking the airport’s arrival and departure route.
Airlines had to put passengers whose Friday flights were cancelled onto different flights Saturday. The extra passenger traffic caused some headache for other passengers whose flights were originally scheduled to depart Saturday.
“By the time we got to the front, it was already late. We missed our flight,” said Maria Perez, who was on her way to a surprise family visit in Los Angeles with her daughter and 2-year-old son. She said that a long wait at the check-in counter early Saturday morning had put their trip on hold. “It’s frustrating. It’s very frustrating. I mean, there were a lot of other people that were going to L.A. too, that they had to cancel (their travel plans). Some of them left.”
Perez said that she and her family arrived at DIA more than two hours early to see the check-in line stretching across the terminal.
While waiting for a another flight, Perez said she and her children had to spend their first day of the vacation at DIA, since they could not reschedule their time off from work.
“I had to ask for time off like 3-4 months in advance,” Perez told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “And (my daughter) did the same thing. And she booked it like two months ago. And we still missed (our flight). I asked, is it lack of personnel? Did people call in sick? Is it vacation? They didn’t have an explanation.”
Richard Oliver, a spokesman from Frontier said the additional volume was from passengers being accommodated from four flights that were cancelled the night before due to weather.
He also said that the airline held ten flights to make sure that delayed passengers were able to make it on board. Frontier had three extra agents helping, a total of eleven check-in and bag drop staff members. Oliver said the airline was doing everything possible to get passengers on their way.
Alexis Aran Coello, a spokeswoman at American Airlines, said that passengers made it through the extended line quickly, and that check-in times were not out of the ordinary, given the hundreds of passengers reaccomodated from four AA flights that were cancelled due to weather.
A statement from Alexis Aran Coello, American Airlines spokesperson:
“The American Airlines ticket counter waits at DIA were between 10 and 15 minutes long this morning. American Airlines had four cancellations yesterday because of weather. When these circumstances arise, we reacommodate our passengers on future flights which may in turn cause an extra influx of passengers the next day. With that said, our lines this morning at DIA were nothing out of the ordinary and we were able to get our passengers on their way in a timely manner.”