Storms cause ground stop, flight delays, cancelations at O'Hare ahead of holiday weekend

Strong storms in the area Thursday afternoon caused a Ground Stop at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport. It lasted for about an hour, but before that there was already an influx of canceled and delayed flights.

"I was only supposed to have a stop here for like an hour, but it just kept getting pushed back and pushed back and changed," said Oklahoman Diamond Mitchell about her flight home.

She was supposed to connect in Chicago on Wednesday, but her flight to Oklahoma City has been pushed back to Friday at 5 p.m. — two days after her expected short layover.

On Thursday, more than 150 flights at O'Hare were canceled and another close to 900 were delayed. Many of the issues were with United flights. A spokesperson reports a bad week of weather and staffing issues.


These setbacks for travelers come as Chicago's airports are preparing for the rush of Forth of July travelers.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was at O'Hare International Airport Thursday morning to advise travelers on what to expect this weekend and to provide travel tips. Friday is anticipated to be the busiest day at O'Hare and Midway, as well as airports nationwide.

"Arrive early. So give yourself plenty of time. Pack smart and start with an empty bag. Friday is going to be our busiest day both here and nationwide," said Jessica Mayle, Regional Spokesperson for TSA.

Nationwide airports will see three-million passengers pass through on Friday alone. Nearly 1.5 million people are expected to travel through Chicago's airports from Friday to next Wednesday.

"We have the staff, we are prepared and we know how many people are going to be coming through," said Mayle. "If passengers can do their part and show up on time, pack smart, I think we're all gonna have a really smooth weekend."

The city will not only be dealing with holiday travel, but the NASCAR Street Race spectators too.

United Airlines released the following statement on cancelations and delays:

"Several consecutive days of severe weather and lingering thunderstorms in the Northeast, combined with FAA staffing constraints over the weekend, have resulted in a tough operating environment, especially for our customers flying in and out of the New York area.

We’re seeing continued meaningful improvement today after an overnight effort to further repair schedules and match separated crews with aircraft. As the recovery progresses, delays and cancellations will continue to decline as we head into what we expect to be a very busy holiday weekend. We’re closely watching the weather, especially in Denver and Chicago today, and are hopeful our customers will still see fewer last-minute cancellations – which will reduce lines at the airport.

We’re grateful to our customers who have endured a lot of disruptions over the last few days and to our teams who have worked around the clock to care for them."