Mid-Michigan resident escapes Atlanta airport the hard way: On the road

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FLINT (WJRT) (12/18/2017) - Delta Flight No. 1766 out of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was scheduled to land at 11:07 p.m. at Flint's Bishop International Airport.

According to the arrival board, the flight's arrival time was pushed back to 11:15 p.m. After the turmoil of the last 24 hours, those additional eight minutes may not make that much of a difference.

Amanda Moran's arrival in Flint was delayed by much more than eight minutes. She was supposed to leave Sunday evening, but a massive power outage that shut down one of the world's largest airports left her stranded.

"As soon as we dropped off the rental car, I was like something's going on, something's going on. There were masses of people," Moran said.

The power outage caused 1,500 flights to be canceled.

"We waited for two and a half hours in that line trying to figure out what we were going to do," she said.

Moran, who lives in Fenton but grew up in Atlanta, couldn't afford to wait for a late night flight home Monday or Tuesday, so she took matters into her own hands and hit the road.

"They wouldn't let you in the airport," she said. "There were no facilities, nothing was working. It was pitch black in there. People that were in the security had to stay."

After discovering their flights had been canceled, Moran and her boyfriend Todd and his two children decided to roll the dice.

"We would have been until Tuesday getting home," Moran said. "We said we're going to have to bite the bullet and rent a car."

They managed to rent one of the last of three cars available before the rental office shut down. Twelve and a half hours later, they were back in Michigan.

"It was a unique experience," Moran said. "Had we not gotten the car, we would have been stuck in the airport."

While she cannot speak for those stuck on the tarmac for hours, she said the airline staff and the people around her made the best they could of a bad situation.

"There was no mean or bitterness," Moran said. "Everybody was understanding that we got to get through it -- let's see what we can do."

"Just the whole Christmas spirit I have to say," she added. "I know it sounds cheesy, but there was a really great spirit in the helping."

Moran said Chick-fil-A brought in food, Southwest Airlines refunded her ticket and even the car rental folks gave everyone a flat rate. Best of all, she was able to make it to work on Monday.

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