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52 Departures Canceled At DFW Because Of Irene

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DFW AIRPORT (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport canceled 52 aircraft departures for Saturday, almost all due to the impact of Hurricane Irene along the East Coast.

Nearly the same number of arrivals was also canceled.

An airport spokesman said in a written statement that cancellations included most or all service to a number of airports along the Eastern seaboard, including those in New York, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Norfolk, Richmond, Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte.

Customer service teams were standing by to assist passengers whose travel plans were impacted by the storm. Airport officials said the teams were ready to distribute cots, pillows and blankets, along with needed toiletry items.

Travelers arriving at DFW Airport on the last flights out of New York City said they were lucky to make it home.

“I looked at the board.  At one time, out of a 100 flights, only 11 were on time. The rest were canceled or delayed,” said one Dallas father, who cut his business trip short.  “I mean, I saw people crying.  It was kind of heartbreaking.”

Ryan and Crystal Tilly, meanwhile, say agents rebooked their travel 15 times before the couple finally boarded a plane back from the Big Apple.

“They were going through every airport, every airline … doing whatever they could,” said Crystal.

New York area’s five major airports will remain closed Sunday, contributing to the 10,000 flight cancellations, nationwide this weekend.

At DFW Saturday, customer service teams were standing by to assist passengers whose travel plans were impacted by the storm. Airport officials said the teams were ready to distribute cots, pillows and blankets, along with needed toiletry items.

Arriving on a flight from Philadelphia, Scott Grigory showed off a picture he’d snapped of the crowd at the airport.

“(They were) moving from gate to gate of every flight that was leaving, trying to get seats,” he said.

Rajat and Meghna Sharma say, when they left Philadelphia, Irene wasn’t far behind, giving them a bumpy ride home.

“It was a scary ride back here. In the beginning, for the first 20 minutes, it was very overcast. And I was holding his hand,” said Meghna Sharma of her husband.

But, a group of friends returning from an Alaskan cruise were among the few actually wishing they were back east.

“We are stuck here. And our families are worried about us. And we’re worried about our families,” said JoAnne Brown, of Tarboro, North Carolina.

“It’s awful,” said Marjorie Spencer, her travelling companion. “I’d love to be in Dallas just for a vacation – but not stranded, not stranded.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.) 

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