For Houstonians, return flight headaches could subside soon at Hartsfield-Jackson

11Alive's Bill Liss reports

ATLANTA -- A lucky few made it on the only United express flight that left Hartsfield-Jackson for Houston Friday afternoon.

One of them was Mason Parker. Houston is his home town.

"I think I'm lucky, I have a window seat," he said. "I really wanted to see it - to see exactly what happened to the city just so I can get a full grasp of it. It's been hard being away from it all."

He added that it's his city - he was born there and he still loves it these many years later. Right now he's counting his blessings, thankful that his family is OK.

"I want to get back to the city," Kurt Ashman said.

He's tried for days to get home to Houston. And he finally got lucky.

"I'm very lucky - very lucky," he said. "I've been out here since Saturday. I left Houston a little early, I was lucky to get out. United worked very well with me and I was lucky to get out Saturday morning and I guess I'll be lucky to get back."

But for thousands of others, it's a frustrating waiting game.

Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights to Houston-Hobby until Sunday - and then only limited service expected until Sept. 9. United express had that one flight on Friday and plans regular service on Saturday. Delta, meanwhile, is maintaining its regular Houston schedule. 

But after waiting for days, many passengers are flying to other Texas cities and taking to the road to make their way back to Houston.

For others, a concern that the airports could run out of fuel before they can get a flight home has become an added fear. Those were sparked by to the temporary shutdown of some oil pipelines. But those fears are unfounded says Hartsfield-Jackson spokesperson Andrew Gobeil.

"There is no reason for concern for passengers here at Hartsfield-Jackson," he said. "We have enough fuel on-hand for the next 8 days, we receive fuel on a daily basis and we have redundancies in place."

He said that reports also suggest that Colonial will reopen pipelines soon - potentially in the next 24 to 48 hours.

So for those willing to stick it out for a flight home, the aircraft leaving Atlanta will have all they need to get them there.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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