Holiday air travel back on track, for now

9:54 PM, Dec 24, 2012   |    comments
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Family at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- If you're still feeling a little bah hum bug, just head to the airport.  You may not think of it as a place of holiday cheer, but with family reunions taking place by the dozens, you're sure to find a story worthy of warming even the coldest of hearts.

Two year old Payton, wore a shirt that said, "Out of my way, I'm here to pick up my daddy."

Matt Gathmann has been serving in Afghanistan the past seven months.  The family tried to skype each night, but say a big hug will be even better.  Gathmann is also making it home in time for the birth of his second daughter, due in January. 

Lemeece Weston says her brother wanted to push the theory, the best things come to those who wait.  She waited more than three hours for him to make it to baggage claim.

"I'm lost. I'm looking everywhere for them. I'm frustrated. I can't find them," said her brother in his defense.

His family is still not sure how he got so turned around.

"First time at an airport, first time flying," said Weston, grateful to finally give her brother a hug.  Still, she says she's not cutting him any slack.  You can bet this story is going to be told for many Christmas' to come.

Many of the reunions were filled with tears, happy ones of course.  There were kisses, teddy bears, flowers and plenty of signs.

Tim Shaughness is only in town for one day.  He says the fact his parents took the time to greet him inside the airport, instead of making the quick drive by outside baggage claim adds a special touch.

"No matter how hard it is to get in and out of the airport, it's always important to have that squeeze, slow life down a little bit," Shaughness said.

His mother, beaming with pride, said she wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's just terrific. It's the best present ever," said Irene, happy to have him home, even if only for a few hours.

The good news for families waiting, is that after a weekend of cancelled flights, airports were back on track. According to, the biggest travel problems today were getting in and out of Denver and Philadelphia.

Hartsfield Jackson saw nearly 200 flight delays, but only one flight was cancelled.

More than five million people are expected to pass through Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this holiday season.

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