DES MOINES, Iowa -- At the Des Moines International Airport it's not just a race to see loved ones in time for Thanksgiving. It's also a race to beat Mother Nature's winter grip.
Many passengers breathed a sigh of relief to see liftoff did not lead to an extended layover Tuesday evening. "I'm very glad. I was coming through Chicago, so I got a little nervous and I'm glad I'm here early for the holiday," said Meredith Pintler, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As winter storms prepare to barrel through Colorado and parts of Iowa and Chicago, one flight arriving from Denver had been cancelled Tuesday. Passengers such as Iowa State student Andrew McGinn said seeing their flight status on time or minimally delayed made them feel lucky. "I'm pretty glad it's only a 20 minute delay so far. Just trying to get home beat the snow," said McGinn, looking ahead to being back home in Chicago.
Tuesday literally and figuratively felt like the calm before the storm. "Wednesday is going to be a really busy day for us at the Des Moines International Airport. We have about 53 flights that are going to be outbound. That's probably approximately 5,000 passengers coming through the terminal on that Wednesday before Thanksgiving alone," said Kayla Kovarna, communications manager for the airport.
With winter storm warnings and a weather advisory hitting Iowa, Pintler was glad to have made the early flight from Charlotte so she could see her grandmother in Pella for Thanksgiving. "I don't really have too much snow in Charlotte, so it will be good to feel a little bit like Christmas time and Thanksgiving," Pintler said.
For anyone unable to leave until Wednesday, Kovarna has a timely tip to make your travel as calm as possible. She said, "The best travel tip I have is arrive at the airport early. I know it's Des Moines and we can breeze through checkpoint, but we have way more travelers than ever before. It's important to be here 90 minutes before scheduled departure time."
To check your flight status before arriving to the airport, just visit www.flydsm.com and click the check status tab for arrivals or departures. Kovarna expects 54 flights on Dec. 1, as many travelers return to Iowa through the Des Moines International Airport.