East Coast snow freezes south Mississippi airline passengers

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The storm that pulverized much of the south over the weekend slammed into the east coast on Monday. Interstates became snowy parking lots, and major airports closed.

The winter weather made it a tough time for travelers again, stranding people across the southeast, including South Mississippi.

It was a brisk day on the ground at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport, and a beautiful day in the skies over south Mississippi. But on the east coast, the weather was so much uglier.

"We are in a delayed situation," a ticket agent announced over the Gulfport airport's speaker system.

Flight cancellations had passengers scurrying to ticket counters to rebook their trips.

"What time were you supposed to be leaving?" a ticket agent asked one passenger.

"12:10," the passenger responded.

However, that flight had been canceled because of a freak March snowstorm that paralyzed the Atlantic seaboard.

The storm froze airline departure boards. New York area airports closed, canceling more than a thousand flights. The domino effect created plenty of travel headaches for Gulfport passengers who were trying to make east coast connections.

Joy Chesnut had a ticket to fly home to Atlanta. She was supposed to leave on Sunday. But when that flight was scrubbed, she said she got rebooked, "Tuesday morning at six." Chesnut returned to the airport on Monday to let the airline know she would be driving back to Atlanta instead.

At another ticket counter, Jennifer Davis was on her cell phone.

"They canceled my flight," she told the person on the other end.

Davis had one of the more heartbreaking stories. The Michigan woman has been on the coast for a couple of weeks, working out at the horse show. She was going back to Detroit for a couple of days, specifically to spend time with her five-year-old child. By the end of the week, Davis was coming back to the coast to close down the horse show.

However, when she got to the airport, she looked at the board, and saw the word canceled next to her flight. She realized her trip home got canceled as well.

"Mommy is going to come home next week. So she'll see Mommy next week. But not until then," she said.

Others got slightly better news. Ticket agents found another airline to take Jacqueline Wall to a conference in Orlando.

"I got rebooked, so I'm happy," she said.

Pam Barrineau was also rebooked on a different airline. She'll be late. But, she'll make her meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

"Hey. What can you do?" Barrineau wondered. "It's okay. It's just a little inconvenience. But we'll get there."

New York area airports had 900 flight cancellations.  Boston's Logan Airport also shut down because of the snowfall.