Southwest planes take off after cancellations

December 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) Officials said the dangerous mix of rain, snow and ice led to the cancelations of departing flights from 1 to 4 p.m. Officials have since re-assessed the weather and evening flights are now back on schedule.

Southwest has 215 flights out of Midway every day. On Wednesday, 40 of them were canceled. Some inbound flights were allowed to land during the 1 to 4 p.m. time slot- but no outbound flights departed. Many passengers tried to make the best of a bad situation during what is supposed to be Midway's busiest travel day with 60,000 people passing through.

The cancelations caused many headaches Wednesday afternoon as folks hoping to make it home in time for Christmas vacation suddenly found themselves stuck and wondering whether they would get out. Luckily the weather improved just enough that flights were resumed.

For several hours Wednesday afternoon it was not easy to find the holiday spirit at Midway Airport after Southwest Airlines canceled nearly all of its flights.

"I have special friends waiting for me to celebrate. So let's just wish for the best," said Araceli Martinez, traveler.

"I'm kind of sad. Wanting to be somewhere warm," said Cynthia Munoz, traveler.

Thousands were stuck in a very cold Chicago.

Southwest Airlines blamed the cancelations on a messy sleet and rain mixture that came down for most of Wednesday afternoon.

Daione Fields, 12, from Gary, Indiana, can't wait to see his uncle in Minneapolis for Christmas. His uncle is Jamar Johnson, a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Daione said it would have been just fine by him if they hadn't made it out tonight.

"I've never spent the night in an airport so I think I'd enjoy it," said Daione Fields.

"It is what it is. They say the Lord is at work. That's all we can do is sit back and wait and see if it clears up," said Elizabeth Johnson, Daione's grandmother.

It did clear up just enough for Southwest Airlines to resume its full schedule of flights Wednesday evening, making a lot of holiday travelers very happy.

Since the Wednesday evening announcement Midway saw an influx of travelers rushing to try and get out of town.

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