Storm Snarls Air Travel

Passengers from around the Pacific Northwest can’t seem to catch a break from mother nature. Storms, especially the ice, halted flights, affecting many travelers, even in the Rogue Valley.

This was the scene at Medford’s Rogue Valley International Airport on Thursday. Flight delays, cancellations and headaches.

Randi Gonzales said “Everything in Seattle is canceled forthree hours.” Lines of people snaked around ticket counters, passengers with looks of disappointment and desperation, trying furiously to rebook their flights. “I’ve been waiting for a month now, to go home and reunite with friends and family,” said Randi Gonzales, “Ihaven’t seen my son ina year and ahalf.” But wintry weather wreaking havoc onGonzales’ long-awaited travel plans. Shehas been helping care for her grandchildren in Gold Hill. Gonzales hadplanned to head back to Hawaii on Thursday but mother nature chose not to cooperate. “I’m a little frustrated,” said Gonzales. Gonzales’ plans took her through Seattle’s airport.

Freezing rain forced Sea-tac to shut down for nearly three hours as runways were covered in sheets of ice. Sea-Tac’s biggest carrier, Alaska Airlines, and sister airline, Horizon, have canceled at least 310 flights, affecting 29,000 passengers.

“Customers that we’retrying to reaccommodate right now, we’regetting some some out tonight, some out tomorrow andsome being pushed untill Saturday and Sunday,” said Brad Tilden, President of Alaska Airlines.

“Havingyour flight delayed is one thing, butthen not being able to make the trip at allis a biglet-down. I want to get home really badly,” said Gonzales.

Roger Gillespie needs to get to California badly to attend a funeral. “I’m going to a funeral. It’s my sister-in-law, we both have cancer,” said Gillespie.But the Grants Pass man’s Horizon flight to Burbank had an unfortunate stop in Seattle. It was canceled.

“They can’t get us on until about the same time tomorrow,” said Sharon Rydell, owner of Mountain Monograms in Grants Pass. Even more foiled plans for Sharon Rydell, who was headed to California for a trade show. “They canceled our flight because of weather in San Francisco,” she said. United Airlines telling her she won’t be able to get to her destination for another 24 hours. The owner of Mountain Monograms in Grants Pass says it’s an unwelcome financial hit in an already depressed economy. “There’s flights, hotels, everything you pay for and the show itself. So yeah, it’s kind offrustrating.”

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