Maintenance issues forced American Airlines to ground more than 1,000 flights on Wednesday. The cancellations snarled travel plans for hundreds of thousands of fliers. The News On 6's Chris Wright reports some of those flights were in Tulsa.
According to the airport's website, six American flights were grounded. The sudden cancellations left travelers fuming. Those who arrived at Tulsa International Wednesday afternoon thinking they were heading to Chicago, quickly found out that was not going to happen.
"I called; they said everything was a go. I called on the way over here, I get to the counter, and they say no, the flight's been cancelled for three hours," said Mick Webber, a stranded traveler.
"I made these reservations last night. I think American Airlines knew they were going to shut down, why didn't they tell me they were going to shut down?" asked Jim Burkhardt.
Five more flights, all either coming from or heading to Dallas and Chicago, were also cancelled. It was part of a nation-wide grounding of American's MD-80's.
More than 1,000 flights were cancelled after FAA inspectors raised questions about possible wiring problems on the planes. American says safety was never compromised, but executives still apologized to passengers.
"American Airlines has to take responsibility for the disruption they have experienced. You know, we're very apologetic for that. I can't say that any more than we have," said Daniel Gasrton of American Airlines.
Back at TIA, travelers scrambled to book flights on other carriers.
One group of Mark Twain Elementary students spent the past year raising money for a trip to Minneapolis.
"How have they been handling this today? Probably better than I have. They've been doing really well with it," said teacher Beth Howard.
The kids did eventually get on another flight, and learned a lesson about the frustration that comes with air travel these days.
"Kind of makes me mad. We've been working all year to earn all this money to go, and we turn around and figure out our flight's cancelled," said Mark Twain student Tommy Reider.
American is now offering $500 to passengers forced to stay overnight.
The Transport Workers Union of America local 514, whose workers perform maintenance on American Airlines planes, declined to comment on the cancellations.
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