Midwest storm means airport nightmare for travelers

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- A big storm in the Midwest has created a nightmare for thousands of airline passengers, as Arizona residents who went to the Chicago area for the holidays had a difficult time flying back to Arizona.

Travelers from the Midwest said Monday they are happy to be back in Phoenix, where it's sunny and in the 70's, after having to make their way through a winter storm. Some passengers had to literally plow their way through the streets of Chicago to get to the airport this morning, only to be told their flights were either canceled or delayed for hours.

"It was a nightmare," said Carly Nenn, who went on to say she finally got on a plane and into Phoenix, a day and a half after her original flight was scheduled.

"So I was supposed to be at work today," said Nenn. :I was supposed to come in last night. It got delayed, then I had to leave at 2:00 a.m. to get to the airport this morning. No roads were plowed. My flight was at 6:00 a.m., that one got canceled. They rescheduled me again, and that one got canceled. I finally made it on my fourth try here."

Travelers said on Monday that it wass one of the worst storms they have ever traveled in. More than 1,200 flights were grounded in the Midwest and the East Coast, because of blizzard-like conditions.

"This was really bad, because it started out as ice, so everything was freezing over as it changed from rain to snow," said Ben Gruca. "The snow was really wet, and the winds were crazy."

Gruca's flight was supposed to leave at 5:00 a.m., but he ended up taking off around 9:00 a.m.. Gruca said they faced yet another faced another delay before they could even taxi on to the runway.

"We had to spend a lot of time de-icing the plane," said Gruca. "All the tugs couldn't get a lot of traction to push the plane backs out of O'Hare, so we were literally rocking back and forth to just get out of the gate."

According to flightaware.com, nearly 40% of all flights out of and into Chicago O'Hare International Airport were cancelled on Monday.