- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

Chuck Hill waited for his flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for seven hours yesterday.

After the Fredericksburg, Va., resident’s original American Airlines flight was canceled, he was scheduled for one at 11:07 a.m.

But he missed that flight after crawling along Interstate 395 yesterday morning. So, he had to wait all day for an evening flight.

“They called me at 4:30 in the morning and said my flight’s not going and we’re going to put you on another flight. I left and get here, and it’s bumper-to-bumper traffic,” said Mr. Hill, 50. “With it closed that way, I missed my flight — the one they told me to take.”

“The best they could give me was 7 o’clock tonight,” he said. “It’s always something.”

Jacki Rams, 59, of Chevy Chase, planned to take a 7:59 a.m. flight to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. But when she arrived at the airport, she found out that her Delta Air Lines flight was delayed till 3:30 p.m. and that she would miss her connecting flight in Atlanta.

“Nobody called me. Nobody did anything. So, I had to come all the way out here and find out,” she said. “What’s worrying me is if I get to Cincinnati and my flight is gone, I’m going to have to get a hotel.”

People meeting their relatives and friends also were put on hold. Indianapolis resident Pamela Boer spent yesterday at Reagan National Airport waiting to pick up her daughter, whose flight had been rescheduled at the last minute.

“This was supposed to be easy. We were supposed to be downtown right now visiting the museums. But … we’ve spent the day at the airport,” she said.

At both Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports, delays and cancellations were the heaviest Sunday morning, said Rob Yingling, spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages the airports.

That night, officials at Reagan National Airport passed out blankets to more then 400 passengers who had to stay overnight because of flight changes, he said.

“It’s very unusual for passengers to be in the terminal after midnight because there’s no flights then. But last night was an exception,” Mr. Yingling said.

By yesterday morning, fewer flights had been canceled or delayed at the airports, he said. Airport runways also remained clear, he said.

Problems on the area’s railroads also were clearing up in time for today’s commute.

Amtrak planned to resume full service this morning after having to cancel almost all trains running south yesterday because of flooding and heavy congestion.

The only train that did head south was the 7:30 p.m. train to Miami, the last trip of the day, said spokesman Cliff Black.

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) did not operate any of its trains yesterday on either the Fredericksburg or Manassas lines, said Mark Roeber, VRE spokesman.

MARC operated on a modified schedule on the Penn line yesterday, while all service on the Brunswick and Camden lines was canceled.

MARC officials planned to release a schedule for tomorrow this evening.

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