East Texans Caught Up In Massive American Airline Flight Cancellations - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/11/08- East Texas

East Texans Caught Up In Massive American Airline Flight Cancellations

Nearly 600 more flights were canceled Friday by American Airlines, as inspections continue on wiring in American's MD-80 jets. A lot of East Texans have been affected by this massive flight cancellation. KLTV 7's Courtney Lane met some very frustrated and exhausted passengers Friday at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport.

"It's just been a nightmare," said American Airlines passenger Steve Williams. 

Williams is one of hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded at airports across the country.

"I finally make it to Salt Lake City driving through 2 or 3 blizzards, then up there the engine goes out from the jet," said Williams. 

Three days of canceled flights by American have been forcing Williams and other passengers to play the waiting game.

"Camping out, all the hotels were full, and all the other airlines were booked," said Williams. 

He finally made it home to Tyler Friday, but not with his luggage. In all the chaos, his bags were lost, topping-off this exhausting journey.

"I'm just glad to be home safely," said Williams. 

A local student trying to leave home for a college visit was set back a little as well.

"It was hard to hear that 'ok your flight got canceled I've got to hurry up and find you another flight so you can go to your college visit," said Shonta Bobbins. 

This is all costing the airline tens of millions of dollars. American's CEO said he takes full responsibility for the airline failing to comply with a federal safety rule on the bundling of wires in MD 80 jets. They are wrapping-up inspections, and announced Friday they expected half of their jets to get off the ground.

"They're talking about having 170 in the air today, so hopefully one of those is mine," said passenger Alan Dexter. 

Most passengers seem to be rolling with the punches, understanding their safety comes first.

"I'd rather be safe than sorry," said Williams. 

American expects cancellations through Saturday night, as they hope to wrap-up inspections by then. If you have travel plans, you're advised to call ahead and check your flight.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com

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