(File photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- Airlines cancelled nearly 10,000 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, literally stranding passengers around the world. In Atlanta, airlines at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport cancelled 293 flights headed into the path of Hurricane Sandy on Monday and have already cancelled 81 flights for Tuesday.
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Most of the stranded passengers arriving in Atlanta got the bad news Sunday night, but there were still a few folks landing Monday morning hoping they would have made it further.
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"All day, all night? I'm going to sit here and try to rest, find some place to lay my head until the flight comes in," said Brenda Anyatonwu, a sub-contractor for FEMA traveling from Houston. She's trying to get to Baltimore to assess the damage after the storm.
"I'm sure it's going to be very devastating for a lot of people in the path of the storm," Anyatonwu said.
Another passenger delayed at the airport is an ER nurse in Baltimore. She came with two other girls to celebrate one of their birthdays this past weekend. They expected to fly home Monday, but are being told to settle in until Thursday at least.
"If we have to celebrate in the hotel lobby or in my room, we're not going to be in this airport," said Makini Coleman.
All three say thank goodness for cell phones.
"Social sites, texting, searching the web, anything to get us through, listening to music," said Coleman.
The women have also used their phones to book a new hotel room, catch weather updates, and catch up with their kids.
"They're calling me consistently, especially the 6 year old. He's so attached. So he doesn't understand, mommy's not coming home yet," said Nevenka Coleman, showing off a picture of her sons.
None of the hotels around the airport are sold out, a sign they say the airlines succeeded in getting the word out early enough for folks to change or delay their plans before getting stuck. But all of the hotels did have guests booking additional nights because their flights were cancelled.