Holiday crowds at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
Family at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
Flights cancelled at Hartsfield-Jackson. (File Photo)
Snow at Chicago O'Hare Airport tower
Waiting passengers at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
Crowded ticket counter at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
Midwest drivers navigating snow
Plane enters rain cloud only seconds after lifting off from Atlanta's airport
ATLANTA -- The world's busiest airport was packed with young and old on Thursday, just some of the 5 million passengers expected to pass through during the holiday weeks.
The biggest Christmas crush has just begun, but some found their flights to be with loved ones delayed or cancelled thanks to bad weather in the Midwest.
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Many cities in states like Colorado, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin were hit with rain and then snow, creating a snarl at their airports.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled at Chicago's O'Hare International alone.
Heavy rain and low cloud caused a few problems here, but since more than half of Atlanta's airport passengers are just changing flights, those Midwest delays caused a ripple effect.
Sade Adejumo managed to get out of Chicago on an Atlanta bound flight before heavy rain there turned to snow, but only after her second try and only after several delays.
"It was just a long morning," she told 11Alive news.
"I was supposed to be here in Atlanta at like 9 o'clock this morning and I didn't get here until 12," she added.
Bob Atkinson of Atlanta was supposed to board a flight to Kansas City, but couldn't get another seat until Saturday.
"I may try standby tomorrow, but the wait list today had thirty-six people in front of me, so that's not gonna happen," he told 11Alive. "So I'll take MARTA home and save it for another day."
Two women also trying to get to Kansas City from Atlanta told us they finally booked a flight to St. Louis, plan to rent a car there and drive the rest of the way.
Airlines America predicts nearly 42 million people will fly through Jan. 2, just under 1% fewer than last year's Christmas holiday season.