2 mid-Michigan families forced to drive home from vacation due to flight cancellations

Mich. (WNEM)- Flight cancellations caused travel disruptions for thousands of flyers across the country leaving some stranded at the airport.

More than 12,000 flights in the United States were delayed or canceled over the weekend

Two local families, instead of waiting for another flight, opted to find a new way home.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re sorry to say your flight’s been canceled,” Marcus Garske said.

Garske of Kawkawlin heard the dreaded announcement Friday evening after spending hours at the airport in Orlando.

For the Radtke family, the same thing happened late Sunday night before their Monday morning flight out of Fort Lauderdale.

“Bags were packed, clothes were laid out, when we woke up we were ready to roll. My husband checked the flight just to find out that it was canceled,” Radtke said.

They are not alone. According to Flightaware over 12,000 flights were delayed or canceled over the weekend.

Both families were left with two options.

Get a refund or wait for the next available flight.

For Garske that was three days later, on Monday.

“I’m an attorney, I had clients that had to have court today, I had secretary of state meetings that can’t get moved, especially at six on a Friday,” Garske said.

The next available flight for the Radtke family to Detroit was not until Friday.

“But I’m a teacher, so that’s not realistic to be away from my students for that amount of time,” Radtke said.

The Radtke and Garske families were flying Spirit. According to Flightaware, 28 percent of the carrier’s Sunday flights were delayed.

Flight disruptions over the weekend did not discriminate by airline.

Jetblue and Southwest both with nearly 40 percent of their Sunday flights disrupted. Both families said they felt like they had no other choice, but to embark on a road trip.

“Just had to stay as positive as possible, but of course, I was in panic mode,” Radtke said.

“It made for a 36-hour day, which should have been a quick easy flight from Orlando to Detroit,” Garske said.

Garske got home Sunday morning at two, after 18 hours on the road. As for the Radtke’s, they were in Georgia at the time of this interview, expecting a 20-hour drive home.

“Once we’re past Atlanta, hopefully it’s smooth sailing from there,” Radtke said.

Both said they are somehow keeping a positive attitude.

“It’ll be a story we can tell for the rest of our lives…Remember that time we almost got stranded at Disney?” Garske said.

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