White sand to white snow: saga of Flight 870

There’s a serene scene in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Thursday morning. A viewer photo shows Allegiant’s Flight 870 preparing to leave the balmy temps for frigid Moline.

“That aircraft has diverted to another city,” sounded the announcement from the Quad City International Airport.

Bad weather forced the flight away from the Quad Cities to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The airport’s message board delivered the bad news — diverted.

“I was pretty disappointed,” said Stephanie Martin.

Tough news for Martin. She’s waiting to pick up her grandparents on Flight 870.

“We just drove through all the snow and ice,” she continued. “I was thankful to be here. Then, right when we came in the door, the plane diverted to South Dakota.”

It’s a story that’s repeating for families all over the airport. It’s weather fit for neither man nor beast…nor airplanes.

The view from the Quad City International Airport’s terminal says a lot. There’s heavy snow, strong winds and dangerous conditions.

As planes wait for better weather, it temporarily grounds the Whiteside family’s Florida vacation. At this point, they’ve been waiting in the airport more than four hours.

“I was just looking forward to warm weather and getting away from the snow before it got here,” said Melissa LeVan, as she waited for Flight 870.

Meanwhile, Flight 870 lands safely in sunny South Dakota. Passengers take a break. That’s where they’ll stay for the near future.

“As soon as the weather clears, they will attempt to come back,” the Quad City announcement continues.

Back in Moline, it’s so blustery that it keeps the choirs from singing at the airport. But passengers show holiday spirit instead.

“It’s either white snow or white beaches,” Cathie Whiteside concluded. “We’ll take either.”

As the wait continues for arriving and departing passengers on Thursday afternoon, they’ll likely get plenty of both.