Historic blizzard wreaks havoc on air, ground travel

Wed Feb 2, 2011 4:04pm EST
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By Greg McCune

CHICAGO (Reuters Life!) - Kansas City businessman Greg Stewart expected to fly from California to home in one day on Monday. Instead, he flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles, then to Denver, then to Chicago, then back to Denver, and on Wednesday he had still not reached Kansas City.

Along the way the airline lost his wife's luggage, and Stewart slept on the floor of Chicago's Midway airport under a television blaring news of the revolution in Egypt.

Normally unflappable, Stewart lost his temper when airline employees told him things he could prove were not true by looking at his smartphone.

"You can't do anything about the weather. But these people kept lying to me and that's what upset me," he said in a telephone interview from Denver, where he was waiting for yet another flight to Kansas City.

The historic blizzard of 2011 brought transportation chaos that left virtually no corner of the nation untouched, from canceled flights and stranded airline passengers, to closed interstate highways, motorists trapped in their cars, and rail passengers stuck on the tracks for hours.

For the second straight day, major U.S. airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights on Wednesday, leaving thousands of passengers like Stewart scrambling to find alternate flights.

Some of those people were football fans trying to get to Dallas for the festivities leading up to the Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Steelers fan Kurt Ervin, a pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, was supposed to fly to Dallas on Tuesday. When his flight was canceled, he flew instead to Houston and on Wednesday was driving to Dallas with a friend.   Continued...

<p>A man sits in the bed of his stranded truck in Milwaukee, Wisconsin February 2, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck</p>