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Local Airport Runways Open, But Terminals Clogged With Passengers

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Long lines at local airports due to a winter snowstorm.
Jonathan Wilson
Long lines at local airports due to a winter snowstorm.

By Jonathan Wilson

Local airport runways returned to normal service in most cases today. But things were far from normal inside terminals, where people are still trying to sort out hundreds of flights canceled over the weekend.

By ten o'clock, many of the hundreds waiting to see ticketing agents at Reagan National Airport had been waiting for several hours.

Courtney Mickalonis, with the Metropolitan Airports Authority, says many people spent last night on airport lounge chairs. "We had about 1,000 people sleep over at Dulles and Reagan National between the two airports on Sunday night," says Mickalonis.

The longest lines at Reagan were for American Airlines travelers, who said they were moving about 40 feet each hour. Todd Reynolds, who's trying to fly home to Chicago, says near the back, few people knew where each line was going. "I think we're in the right line; are we in the right line?" Reynolds asks a nearby passenger. "See, no one knows."

Doug Fruehling missed his flight to St. Louis standing in line this morning. He hopes to get a standby seat so he won't be forced to wait until Christmas day. "I'm skeptical, I would bag the whole trip, except I paid for it--its non-refundable," says Fruehling.

Once passengers do get on a plane, they may be heartened by new regulations just announced by the Obama administration. The new rules mean airlines operating domestic flights can only keep passengers on board for three hours when planes are stuck on the ground. After that, passengers must be allowed to disembark.

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