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Delays, weather, unruly passengers snarl post-holiday travel

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MIAMI (NewsNation) — As the Thanksgiving holiday weekend concludes, travelers are trying to get home after thousands of flights were delayed and hundreds more canceled.

Although Thanksgiving holiday travel trends were a little different this year, with more people being able to work remotely, air travel was still near pre-pandemic levels and not without complications.

On Thursday, travelers reported fewer complications than expected, but a severe weather system across several parts of the U.S. impacted millions of Americans as they started to return home.

A potent storm system brought much-needed rain across the eastern half of the country on Sunday. The National Weather Service urged holiday travelers to heed warnings about a winter storm that was expected to bring snow to the mountain passes starting Saturday night and dropped snow on the metro areas Sunday.

So far, airline tracking site Flight Aware is reporting 47 canceled flights and 749 delays for travelers Monday within the U.S. On Sunday, Flight Aware reported 178 canceled flights and 6,810 delays for travelers within the U.S.

Whether it’s by car, airplane or even train, travel numbers this year are just shy of pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA. AAA predicted this year will be the third busiest for Thanksgiving travel since 2000.

According to the FAA, on Sunday, there were about 47,000 domestic flights. As of Saturday, TSA screened more than 19.8 million travelers. In 2019, the agency screened 20.2 million.

Meanwhile, on top of other issues, frustrations at some airports made their way onto aircraft with a few unruly passengers.

In Denver, a couple forced a Frontier Airlines flight to disembark after they allegedly slipped onto the plane to avoid paying an extra fee for baggage, passenger @nikki__le told The New York Post. The couple allegedly “skipped bag measures and boarding pass scanning,” then refused to leave the plane amid the Thanksgiving travel rush, she said.

“’We’re tired!’ one of the air-headed jerks can be heard yelling,” according to footage posted on Instagram. That flight was delayed.

NewsNation hasn’t yet heard back from Frontier regarding the incident.

In Utah, a man was arrested after allegedly threatening a woman with a straight-edge razor during a flight from New York to Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 21.

Merrill Darrell Fackrell, 41, has been charged in a District of Utah federal court with one count of carrying a weapon on an aircraft and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.

A flight from Houston’s Hobby International airport bound for Ohio was diverted to Arkansas to remove a passenger who allegedly assaulted a person, KHOU reported. Officials said that a person was hospitalized after being assaulted. The allegedly unruly passenger is in custody and is expected to face federal charges. The FBI is currently investigating.

NewsNation affiliate KTVX contributed to this report.

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