Volcanic ash disrupts travelers' plans

April 21, 2010 7:12:11 PM PDT
With travel overseas still backed up at O'Hare, some runners are worried they won't make it to London in time for Sunday's marathon. Other travelers were relieved they made it back home to Chicago. And for those still stranded, there were generous examples of Midwestern hospitality.

Some passengers stranded in Chicago have found their way to area hotels or have found other accommodations. But after learning that a flight landed at London's Heathrow Airport Tuesday, travelers are hopeful they too will soon be able to catch their own flights.

A group of runners has been training for months in preparation for this weekend's London marathon. They have raised thousands of dollars along the way for an AIDS foundation but right now they're stuck in Chicago hoping that their flight will get out Wednesday.

"It is actually kind of mind-boggling that no matter how far technology takes us, nature is going to do something else," said Kinnier Lastimosa, Team to End AIDS.

"One minute you're told one thing, the next minute the other. So it is kind of an emotional roller coaster," said Dan Lakin, Team to End AIDS.

The marathon officials are monitoring air quality for those that are able to run. So far they're giving it a green light. London is one of the largest marathons in the world.

On the other end, hundreds of Boston marathon runners were stranded in Europe unable to make it for the race on Monday.

The first flight since last Thursday arrived in London Tuesday evening. And some weary travelers were reunited with family in Chicago after being stranded in Europe for several days.

One family made it back after spending an extra three days in Germany.

"We made it in one piece," said the traveler.

A Chicago woman who opened her home to stranded British passengers says they will likely be forced to stay several more days as the airlines work to catch up.

"There's definitely been a lot of stress and anxiety and frustration...there's not much anybody can do to help them," said Melissa Weitzel.

It is going to be several days before the airlines are able to catch up and start operating at full schedules again. It should improve quickly unless there are more eruptions from the volcano in Iceland, something scientists are not willing to guarantee.


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