DALLAS-FORT WORTH (AP) - A fresh snow storm in North Texas on Friday threatened to leave fans traveling to the Super Bowl stranded far from Sunday night’s big game.
The snow caused about 300 inbound flights to be canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Friday morning, and it shut down commercial flights at smaller Dallas Love Field.
It was one last blitz from nature against organizers of the big game, who have struggled all week with ice and freezing temperatures in north Texas.
Airlines were counting on a weather forecast that called for snow to end and temperatures to rise into Saturday.
American Airlines, the dominant carrier at DFW Airport, expected Friday to be the busiest day for travelers attending the Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. By midmorning, American and its regional affiliate, American Eagle, had canceled about half of their flights at DFW — including more than 300 arriving flights through early afternoon.
“We are putting extra effort to operate our flights in from Chicago today to keep the Super Bowl-oriented traffic moving,” said Tim Smith, an American Airlines spokesman.
Smith said the airline was also giving more attention to 12 extra flights that it added from Pittsburgh and airports near Green Bay to handle people coming to the game.
If those flights are canceled, fans could have trouble getting to the game because later flights heading to Dallas from the two teams’ regions are virtually full.
Southwest Airlines expected to cancel 60 flights Friday at its home airport of Dallas Love Field, although it wasn’t clear whether much of that traffic was Super Bowl-related.
The city-run airport, which was shuttered earlier this week by an ice storm, closed its runways to commercial airliners again on Friday, although private planes continued to operate, said airport spokesman Jose Luis Torres.
“We’ve cleared one of the runways and we’re clearing the taxiways,” Torres said. He said Southwest flights were likely to resume by late morning or early afternoon.
Southwest planned to run four extra flights on Friday, with return legs Monday, between Dallas and both Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. It was unclear whether those flights would be affected by Friday’s storm.
Visitors who were able to reach the Dallas area encountered icy roads, especially on secondary streets, that made driving hazardous.
Some VIPs have been unimpressed with efforts to deal with the ice and snow. Kurt Warner, a Super Bowl MVP quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, said the region looked unprepared to handle the bad weather.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)