Winter storm disrupts holiday travel plans

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Christmas is past, but travel troubles continue nationwide thanks to a major winter blast that hit most of the country last week and over the weekend.

New Mexicans are among the countless travelers still struggling to get home.

Lauren Green spoke to a familiar face about what getting home looks like for him.

“About 2 p.m. yesterday I started to get notifications my flight was delayed.  I had a 6:20 flight, before I knew it, it was canceled,” said KOB 4 Sports Anchor, Brandon Ortega.

Ortega is proof that New Mexico travelers have not been immune to holiday travel troubles. He says he’s staying with his parents at least another day in California.

“I was on the phone for over two hours with Southwest on hold yesterday, and then my phone died,” Ortega said. “I heard horror stories from people in line.  I heard horror stories from people that were already on their second day of cancellations.”

We are hearing similar stories from travelers everywhere.

“I don’t know what to do, the only flights are way too expensive, and we’re stuck” said a traveler.

Nationwide, thousands of flights were canceled on Christmas Day. About 3,500 flights were canceled on Christmas Eve.

Neighbors to the north were among two airports that saw the most delays over the weekend. Denver and Chicago airports pushed back more than 500 flights combined.

“I’m grateful we’re fine and everything, but I won’t get to go see my grandparents,” said another traveler.

At the Albuquerque International Sunport, travel seems a lot more normal than other airports across the country. But still we’re seeing some of the ripple effects of travel troubles elsewhere.

Delays and cancellations are still scattered throughout the day for both arrivals and departures. 

Ortega is hoping to make it back sometime Tuesday.

“I have a ticket with American Airlines, I also have a ticket with Southwest for Wednesday morning.  But if my flight with American pans out tomorrow, then I will just reimbursed with Southwest,” said Ortega. “I get to spend another day with my family, so it could certainly be worse.  I could be stuck somewhere where I don’t know anybody, you know what I mean?  So at least I get to hang out with my family one more day.”