Eclipse traffic delays departures for tired travelers

PORTLAND, Ore. --  Eclipse visitors were streaming into Portland International Airport Tuesday morning, catching flights home after an amazing celestial experience, and an awful drive to Portland from the path of totality.

TSA checkpoint lines were extremely long in the early hours of the day, but soon returned to normal after the morning rush.

One family from Holland was glad their flight to Amsterdam wasn’t until Tuesday morning, because they had a long drive to get to PDX.

“It was terrible. Awful. Ten hours to get us back to Portland we were afraid to miss this flight,” said the father.

Some others trying to fly home Tuesday had missed their flights late Monday.

Just hours removed from an unforgettable experience, the Skinner family from London had a forgettable experience at PDX.

“It should’ve been two, two and a bit hours,” said Chris Skinner.  “It took over seven hours.”

It took the Skinners seven hours to drive from Newport to PDX. The family of four missed their flight out of town and had to be re-booked.

“We have to fly to Spokane, don’t know where it is, then to Seattle,” he said.

The Skinners weren't the only family with a post-eclipse horror story.  Vincent Sartor, from California, spent nine hours in the car driving from Corvallis to PDX. He, too, missed his flight.

“I knew this was a risk coming in,” he said.  “We’ll see if we can get in tonight or we’ll have to find a place to stay tonight.”

For those eclipse chasers who did make their flights, it was not without worry.

“I figured we’ll have seven hours,” said Ken Seagle who had to drive from Prineville to the airport. “There was a point I was concerned.”

But any concern or frustration over missed flights or near misses paled in comparison to the joy of witnessing a total eclipse.

“It was a gift from God,” said Beth Copti of California.  “It was just that beautiful.”

The sentiment was echoed by the Skinners before their long journey home.

“It was just unbelievable,” said Chris.  “A genuinely profound moment.”


© 2017 KGW-TV


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