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MailTribune.com
  • Passengers, airlines cope with the fog

    Airline passengers recount flights that got lost in the fog
  • Jacksonville-area resident Lillian Stewart expected a quick trip back to Medford from Colorado Springs on Saturday, with a stopover in Denver to switch planes.
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  • Jacksonville-area resident Lillian Stewart expected a quick trip back to Medford from Colorado Springs on Saturday, with a stopover in Denver to switch planes.
    By the time Stewart arrived Sunday afternoon in the Rogue Valley, her nerves were frayed, her patience thin and her bags missing in action.
    As frustrating as it may be for travelers trying to fly out of the Rogue Valley, they may have a hard time topping folks desperately looking for return options.
    Stewart and her bags parted company after the Saturday flight was canceled.
    "They told us not to pick up our suitcases because it would take two or three hours," she said.
    She had planned to eat on her return flight and had neither food nor water. Worse yet, Stewart was out of her medication after having been in Colorado since traveling to visit her son's family for Thanksgiving.
    "I had bought trip insurance, and I didn't even realize it," she said.
    Stewart and a handful of others headed for Medford were sent to a motel, and a shuttle arrived at 5:30 the next morning. Although United had rescheduled her on a Tuesday flight, she found herself on a Delta flight Sunday. Changing planes in Salt Lake City, she was aboard one of the last planes to land before fog again closed operations.
    "I didn't see anything out the window until I saw the line a split-second before we hit the ground," she said.
    Her adventure was far from over, however.
    "I have a royal-blue band on my bag, and I can recognize it a football field away," Stewart said. "I waited and waited when the bags came out and it never came."
    SkyWest Airlines, which operates United Express and Delta Connection flights to Medford, subcontracts its ground crew operations through DAL Global Services, a unit of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.
    "As soon as they unload and load the planes, the ground crew all goes home," Stewart said. "Nobody was taking responsibility. United still has my bag, it never gave Delta my bag, but United gave Delta the other people's bags that were on my flight."
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