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Midway Airport Didn't Handle The Snow Well Thursday

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 3, 2014 2:45PM

Midway Airport in better times. (Photo Credit: vxla)

If you’re flying out of Midway today check your flight times because The World’s Busiest Square Mile became a way station for hundreds of passengers Thursday, delayed by the snow in Chicago and a blizzard affecting flights heading to the northeast.

Southwest Airlines passengers landing at Midway were stuck on the tarmac for up to four hours waiting for open gates. Inside the airport the waits were longer, with some passengers told their flights may not even depart until Friday. Many passengers ended up sleeping on cots.

Compounding matters were icing issues and conditions that made it too rough for flying. Once passengers stuck on the tarmac made it to their gates they found further delays from inoperable baggage claim kiosks. Southwest Airlines has taken the brunt of passengers’ frustrations with some fliers speaking with local media demanding refunds for flights and for the airline to reimburse them for added hotel costs caused by the delays.

The delays on the tarmac may have exceeded Department of Transportation regulations. Passengers on domestic flights cannot be held on planes for more than three hours without being allowed to exit the plane. The final passengers waiting on the tarmac were able to leave their planes at 3:15 a.m., although they still had to wait three hours for their luggage.

The problems may continue Friday. Already, 60 flights were canceled at Midway as of 7:30 a.m. O’Hare International Airport is also experiencing delays and cancellations. More than 200 flights were scrapped at O’Hare.