SALT LAKE CITY — With one of the busiest travel days of the year coinciding with a once-in-a-generation storm, Salt Lake City International Airport is ready for whatever is thrown at it Friday.
The airport was already busy on Friday morning as passengers rushed out of the city and to their destinations before flights could be canceled due to the massive storm affecting much of the country. As of 7:45 a.m., 27 flights into or out of Salt Lake City had already been canceled, while 33 flights had been delayed.
Travelers heading to Pacific Northwest cities like Seattle and Portland told FOX 13 News they’re upset because they’ve been rerouted to other destinations and will now have to drive to those cities.
Over the past few days, Riley and Sierra Porter have been trying to get to Eugene, Oregon to celebrate their son’s first Christmas, but flight cancellations have prevented them from leaving.
“It was canceled last night at 8pm and then again [Friday] around midnight,” said a frustrated Riley.
The Porters are now flying to Sacramento in hopes they can still make it to Eugene before Christmas Eve.
“This is the closest thing we can find, we still have an 8 hour drive,” Riley added.
Due to possible weather cancellations and delays, as well as high travel volumes, airlines prepare for this time of year.
“We know you put a lot of trust in us when you travel with us, and we take that very seriously,” said Delta flight attendant Karen Williams. “You know, we want you to get to your destination safely and on time.”
Airlines say passengers can help airlines get them to their destinations faster by arriving early and packing carefully.
“You want to keep things out of your carry-on bags that you’ll need during the flight, like your medications and your cell phone,” Williams said. “Make sure you throw away those water bottles before you get up to security and pack your patience too.”
But as holiday travel continues, Porters say to expect the unexpected
“Good luck and check your flight!”
Holiday travel is expected to be heavier than it has been in recent years when the pandemic forced people to stay at home. Lines at security checkpoints at Salt Lake City International Airport Friday morning were evidence that people were ready to leave once again.
Despite long lines and packed concourses, officials are making sure holiday cheer is felt throughout the airport Friday with live music and an appearance from Santa Claus before he takes off on his flight this weekend.