United flights delayed, but Santa’s sleigh flies

Storm causes problems for air travelers, not for Rudolph and Co.

Arriving just in time for a white Christmas, 4-year-old Dillan Seid catches snowflakes on her tongue. Meredith Miller holds her hand as they arrive with Dillan’s father, Bruce Seid, at the Durango-La Plata County Airport from Los Angeles. The Seids are in Durango to spend the holidays with relatives. Dillan has big plans for her trip: a ride on the Polar Express. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Arriving just in time for a white Christmas, 4-year-old Dillan Seid catches snowflakes on her tongue. Meredith Miller holds her hand as they arrive with Dillan’s father, Bruce Seid, at the Durango-La Plata County Airport from Los Angeles. The Seids are in Durango to spend the holidays with relatives. Dillan has big plans for her trip: a ride on the Polar Express.

Some people may not make it home for Christmas after United flights from Denver International Airport into Durango were delayed three to six hours or canceled.

The first flight from Denver scheduled to leave at 8:10 a.m. Monday was delayed for more than three hours. The 9:59 a.m. flight from Denver was delayed for 6½ hours “awaiting inbound aircraft,” and it was canceled about 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to the United website.

Meanwhile, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, showed Santa and his reindeer flying right on time Monday afternoon, last spotted in Budapest, Hungary, and just a few minutes from Bratislava, Slovakia. The website was reporting more than 3 billion gifts had already been delivered – and the tally was rising rapidly.

But, in Colorado, the United Twitter account was reporting some issues. A winter storm could affect travel to and from ski towns in Colorado and Wyoming, but DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale said the airport did not expect a significant amount of delays or cancellations stemming from the weather.

The airport was expecting light or dry snow that would be easily swept off the runways between 6 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. today, she said.

Coale said she did not have information regarding the United flights, but she has noticed airlines consolidating flights if one isn’t completely full and moving passengers from one flight to another, which could account for cancellations.

The airport also was expecting about 20,000 fewer passengers than normal on Christmas Eve.

United could not be reached for comment.

Most of the snow was expected to fall late Monday.

Christmas should be clear and sunny with a high temperature in the mid-to-upper 20s, said Travis Booth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Another storm is expected to roll in Wednesday and continue Thursday morning.

“It doesn’t look real significant, but we may see the potential for a few inches,” Booth said.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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