Midwest weather affects valley flights

Passengers unite with family and friends after long delays from the weather.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The winter storm that's bringing snow and dangerously cold temperatures to much of the midwest is snarling air traffic across the country, even in sunny Palm Springs.  Massive delays and cancellations at major airports, like the one in Minneapolis, are creating a domino effect felt even in the desert.  "I was supposed to be here by 11, and instead we left 3 and a half hours late," said Cheryl Biddle, who started her flight in Minneapolis.  "Then they decided to land in Salt Lake City because their pilot had flown too many hours." 

After the unexpected detour, Minneapolis passengers arrived in the desert, more than five hours late.  Many of them just happy to reach a warm, final destination.  In some cases, it felt more than 100 degrees warmer than where they started the day.  "After I think it was a 9 hour travel day, finally seeing the mountains and landing was absolutely exciting," said Duffy Fallon. 

Other travelers ran into problems trying to leave the Coachella Valley.  Flights out of PSP to the arctic midwest took a major hit on some airlines.  "Well 1:20 then 3 and then we got here," said Tracy Torgerson. "It was 4:30, and now it still hasn't arrived." 

The Torgerson family wants to get home to Chicago so they can get back to school and work, but no plane means no flight.  They, like thousands of other frustrated travelers nationwide, could only wait while airlines tried to sort out the mess the weather made. "We've been in line for several hours," said Mark Torgerson.  "We found the website was overloaded because of all the people needing flights."

The Torgersons did get tickets for a flight home, but not until Wednesday.  While the storm made a real travel nightmare for many, local passengers agree, there are worse places to wait it out. "Actually, to be stuck here is so much better than anywhere else.  So maybe two more days in Palm Springs is not so bad." 

Passengers are always encouraged to check with their airlines for flight information. 

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