Hundreds of flight cancellations at O'Hare, Midway airports again Friday with brutal cold

ByMark Rivera, Liz Nagy, and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Friday, December 23, 2022
As O'Hare, Midway flight cancellations pile up, some turn to trains
Hundreds of flight cancellations have been reported at O'Hare and Midway airports Friday, so some travelers are taking their chance on Amtrak.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Thousands of flights have been canceled across the country, including hundreds in Chicago.

There were at least 829 cancelations at Midway and O'Hare Thursday.

As of 10:10 a.m.. on Friday, O'Hare reported 374 flight cancellations and another 260 flight cancellations at Midway. Delays at both airports are averaging less than 15 minutes.

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The winter wallop canceled hundreds of flights at O'Hare and Midway with winds gusting at 40-50 miles per hour at both Chicago airports threatening to cancel even more.

Some people spent their pre-Christmas hours sleeping on the hard tile floors and in airport seats in hopes of being ready to catch their flight.

The high winds and brutal cold meant hundreds more flight cancellations at Chicago airports, and thousands more stuck passengers.

Chicago weather: Dangerous cold moves in after winter snow storm

"We got here 72 hours ago hoping that our flight is on time tomorrow so we're spending the night on the floor in O'Hare which isn't very comfortable but we're here," traveler Nakita Mauer said.

"Me and my girlfriend have been here since 8:00 p.m. yesterday and we fly out at 1:00 p.m. today," traveler Kimisha Robinson said.

Flights in and out of Chicago saw some of the hardest impacts in the country from this winter storm.

Many travelers were trying to get to family holiday gatherings or vacations; Paavan Patel is trying to make is wedding in India.

"I'm getting married on the 28th. So hopefully I get there with enough time so I can rest up before the whole shebang," he said.

His flight was canceled in Detroit, so now he's trying to get a flight out of Chicago.

"This is like the perfect story, I'm on my way to my wedding, and here's a story. But it is what it is," he said, with surprising aplomb.

Shannon Bullard and family are traveling to Punta Cana.

"We are very excited that we've gotten this far to the airport and we really hope that we get on the plane and it flies," Bullard said. "Hopefully we're going to be on the beach and not worrying about the snowstorm."

Same for Puja Joshi and her family traveling to Cancun, Mexico.

"So far, cross our fingers, it's still on time," Joshi said.

And a very special guest who knows a lot about winter travel was spotted at O'Hare. Santa Claus offered tips to travelers young and old as they get ready to celebrate the holiday weekend.

FlightAware reporting more than 5,000 flights are already cancelled nationwide Friday.

And so some travelers turned to another mode of cross-country transportation: the train.

"I slept at the airport on the floor for four hours and then I get a text that it was cancelled," said Gaby Palazzolo, who was finally on her way to Detroit from Union Station. "When it was literally my last option. I was like 'I guess I'm having Christmas in Chicago or I'm going to take the train.'"

"I had a connecting flight to Detroit that was canceled twice now - yesterday and then again today - so here I am taking a six hour train," said Michael Locoponi. "If this doesn't go through I'm just going to spend Christmas in Chicago."

If your travel plans are flexible, most airlines have offered travel waivers allowing flyers to change their flights for free. But that might not be a reality for some with just days before Christmas.

The CTA rerouted buses off DuSable Lake Shore Drive Thursday night into Friday morning because of road conditions. By 11 a.m., express buses were back on the drive. The buses affected were: #2 Hyde Park Express, #6 Jackson Park Express, #J14 Jeffery Jump, #26 South Shore Express, #28 Stony Island, #134 Stockton/LaSalle Express, #135 Clarendon/LaSalle Express, #136 Sheridan/LaSalle Express, #143 Stockton/Michigan Express, #146 Inner Lake Shore/Michigan Express, #147 Outer DuSable Lake Shore Express, #148 Clarendon/Michigan Express

Orange Line trains were running with delays because of track switching problems at Midway.

Metra was running on a modified Saturday schedule, but delays were reported on several line because of switching and crew problems.

On the Union Pacific Northwest line, trains were up to half an hour late because of a shortage of crew.

On the SouthWest line, trains were nearly an hour late because of switching problems.

On the Metra Electric line, trains were nearly a half-hour behind schedule because of switching and mechanical problems.

As of 11:30 a.m., the Illinois Department of Transportation reported most roads in the Chicago area covered with ice or snow.

Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.

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