Big delays for travelers out of Hobby Airport

December 24, 2009 3:03:22 PM PST
Thursday was one of the busiest travel days of the year, and with bad weather slowing things down in several major airport hubs, it has been one of the more chaotic. But it's not just snow and ice making things difficult. At Hobby Airport, our overnight storms caused a different kind of problem.

The rush was on to get to the airport for travelers Thursday, but once you got to Hobby's main terminal, you would be in for a surprise. There were lines out the door, down the sidewalk and through a lot of frustrated travelers.

"I got dropped off," said passenger Steve Stidham. "I'm trying to make it home."

"You think you'll get home for Christmas?" we asked.

"I'm hoping," he said.

Overnight, storms knocked out electricity to Hobby Airport. The backup generators worked, but not well enough to avoid a Christmas Eve traveler's nightmare.

"It functioned as we believe they should," said Eric Potts with the Houston Airport System. "But this problem happened at one of the substations and it cascaded through the system and we had to backtrack to find the root of the problem."

By mid-morning, the electricity was stable and the ticket kiosks back online. But trying to catch up with the check-in process was nearly impossible and missing flights was the norm.

"We're just waiting patiently, hoping we'd get on some flight," said traveler Shane Wooley.

Frustrated travelers looking to make their flights got creative. One way to speed things up was to get rid of that check-in luggage and hope to make it home in time for Christmas.

"This is my luggage and I am not bringing my luggage with me because it'll probably get lost because of all this craziness and they'll mail it to me," said traveler Sarah Seibert. "And I'm taking my purse full of what I can get in it and they're going to give me a bag and I'm just going to fill what I can."

If you have a flight out of Hobby today, you might want to check on your flight status.


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