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2,000 stranded at Charlotte airport; runways now re-opened

An American Airlines jet is deiced early Tuesday morning, Feb. 17, 2015. More than 2,000 passengers spent Monday night in the terminal at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Cots, mats, pillows and blankets were distributed. Some Airport concessionaires and checkpoints extended hours to accommodate travelers.
An American Airlines jet is deiced early Tuesday morning, Feb. 17, 2015. More than 2,000 passengers spent Monday night in the terminal at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Cots, mats, pillows and blankets were distributed. Some Airport concessionaires and checkpoints extended hours to accommodate travelers. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Douglas International Airport had three parallel runways open by 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and operations were returning to normal.

More than 2,000 passengers spent the night in the terminal. Cots, mats and blankets were distributed, and some airport concessions stayed open late to accommodate the stranded travelers.

According to flight-tracking site FlightAware, 278 flights headed to or leaving Charlotte have been canceled and another 22 have been delayed as of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. On Monday, 486 flights were canceled and 170 delayed.

Travelers were advised to check with airlines for flight status.

Last night more than 2,000 passengers stayed the night in the airport -- several hundred of those were from American Airlines flights to Frankfurt and London. residual delays, cancellations today, especially from international flights, could mean more passengers stay the night overnight again Tuesday.

"We'll ask our concessionaires to stay over. The TSA will keep at least one lane open overnight and we'll be distributing emergency supplies -- cots and mats -- for passengers who are stranded overnight," said Brent Cagle, interim aviation director at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

“Generally passengers are understanding and are doing their best in a tough situation," Cagle said.

Cagle said de-icing will continue through midday, then resume possibly Tuesday evening knowing the temperatures are going to drop below freezing again.

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