500 Canceled Flights Later, DIA Hopes to Return to Normal This Afternoon

Denver International Airport was largely empty Tuesday morning after a major snowstorm led airlines to cancel at least 477 outbound flights.
Denver International Airport was largely empty Tuesday morning after a major snowstorm led airlines to cancel at least 477 outbound flights. Chase Woodruff
A major holiday snowstorm forced hundreds of cancellations and delays and stranded more than a thousand passengers in Denver International Airport concourses overnight. But with crews working to clear runways and conditions beginning to improve, airport officials are hopeful that the worst is behind them.

“We’re hoping by early afternoon that we’ll see some more flights depart and arrive,” says DIA spokeswoman Alex Renteria. Three of the airport’s six runways are currently operating, and about sixty flights had been able to depart as of noon today, November 26. Most major airlines are expected to resume normal operations by this afternoon.

At least 477 flights have been canceled since midnight, along with nearly a hundred delays. Almost all of the cancellations were preemptively announced by airlines as the snowstorm approached the region on Monday night, and at least eight inches had fallen at DIA as of this morning, causing major disruptions for passengers during some of the busiest travel days of the year.

“The wind had a big impact here, and the snow caused visibility issues, which is never good,” says Renteria. “That’s why those flights were canceled so far in advance. And it was pretty treacherous out here last night, so we think it was a good decision.”

Passengers traveling out of Denver this afternoon should check their flight status with their airline before leaving home, DIA officials said. They also recommend that passengers take the Regional Transportation District's A Line rather than drive, if possible. A Line trains are currently experiencing ten to fifteen minutes of additional travel time between Union Station and the airport because of a malfunctioning switch, according to RTD.

An estimated 1,100 passengers stayed overnight at DIA following Monday's cancellations, and airport staff provided blankets, baby formula, diapers and other personal care items. With delays and other disruptions still a possibility, DIA officials say they'll continue working to make sure the holiday travel rush goes smoothly.

“We know our passengers want to get home to see their families for Thanksgiving,” Renteria says. “We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible.”
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Chase Woodruff is a staff writer at Westword interested in climate change, the environment and money in politics.
Contact: Chase Woodruff