Thanksgiving Travel 2013: Storm threatens air travel

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - It’s the sort of scenario that could make a nightmarish day of travel: Tens of thousands of people on the move, and all those flights with all that precipitation on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The departure and arrivals board was the most popular destination for passengers on Tuesday at Reagan National Airport. In most cases, they walked away disappointed.

"I'm not even seeing my flight on here," said a frustrated Carol Nunez.

And Taymer Shahin’s 40-minute flight to Philadelphia was delayed several hours.

“It would have been so much easier driving," she said. "I didn't even think about it. I downplayed the whole storm situation. I really should have drove up."

At Reagan and BWI, there were few cancellations – but plenty of late flights. 50-percent of arriving flights were delayed, and ahead of the storm, most major airlines announced passengers could change or cancel their flights for free.

Mary Roman took advantage of that and moved her flight from Boston by a day.

“I left early on purpose and they were even hustling us on Southwest to get us out early and move us out early because of the snow," she explained.

Despite plenty of delays, the silver lining for anyone who got on a plane Tuesday was that at least they were able to get moving.

"We're going to New Orleans," said Don Keller. "I was more afraid that if I missed Thanksgiving my mother would probably would kill me."

On Tuesday night, the arrivals and departures board at Reagan National Airport is still a mix – just like the weather – of relief and frustration.

Snow in the Southern Plain states and the Midwest, along with heavy rain from Florida to Maine, are making travelling by air a real chore for some.

Miranda Youn of Northern Virginia flew in from Indianapolis.

“The plane got delayed for about one hour and I had to come in late," she said.

Meanwhile, the Lott and Hardie families are trying to get home to Florida after visiting Washington D.C. They planned ahead by leaving the day before the day before Thanksgiving.

"Well, for today we knew it would get busy tomorrow, so we decided to leave on Tuesday instead of Wednesday to go back home and hope for better weather today," said Florida resident Gary Hardie. "But it's all right. Just a small delay."

Anne and Cristina Conway were waiting for a while on a family member coming in from South Carolina.

"Hopefully she'll get in safe and we can get home soon," said Anne.

Her plane took off from Chicago, where foul weather contributed to the delay.

"All these years, we've never had issues or delays, so knock on wood this is our first and hopefully our last time."

But at least no one we talked with is traveling on the eve or day of Thanksgiving.

"We did that on purpose -- I don't want to fly anywhere tomorrow," said Maryland resident Ashley St. Denis.