DFW AIRPORT (CBS11) – Tearing across the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma has sent a clear and consistent message: “Get out of my way.”
“They evacuated us three days ago, but I couldn’t get a flight out,” said Delana LaHue of Fort Lauderdale.
Even before the massive storm reaches the US mainland, travel has already been trashed.
Florida airports and the airlines that serve them have been overwhelmed with passengers trying to get out of harm’s way.
LaHue said the flight that she thought she would be on, was canceled.
“I kept calling and calling and she’d say `we’ve got one’, and then she would say, ‘I’m so sorry, it’s gone’, and then she’d say, ‘we have one going to Charlotte!…hang on, hang on’ and then she’d say, ‘I’m so sorry, it’s gone.”
Finally, in desperation, LaHue hired an Uber driver to take her from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, where she was finally able to board a flight to DFW. Whether from sheer exhaustion or relief, the experience brought her to tears.
“I feel like kissing the ground I’m so happy,” said LaHue.
A few feet away, Shaynen Wylie rushed into her grandparents’ anxious arms– admitting that she, too, began to panic when her flight was canceled.
“Me and my Dad were going to drive North, but that hurricane was so big that I don’t know if that would have helped,” said Wylie, who just moved to Florida three weeks ago.
“Oh, my gosh, we’re just so happy!” exclaimed her grandmother, Jody Tiddark. “My husband was ready to drive down to pick her up.”
But other travelers said the roads were as congested as Florida airports.
“It took my friend 17 hours to get from Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta,” said Jasmin Fields. “It usually takes about 7 or 8, it took her 17 hours!”
Relieved travelers say the sheer size of Irma eliminated many options for shelter away from the coast.
“People were saying get in the car and drive! Well, where are you gonna drive?” asked LaHue.