As Allegiant flight 1870 pulls into the Quad City International Airport on Friday morning, Moline never looked so good.
There are happy reunions inside the terminal. Families and friends enjoy warm smiles and holiday hugs.
“It feels like mixed emotions,” said passenger Kathy Martens, Moline. “I didn’t think I’d be wearing (gloves). I just thought I’d be wearing these (sunglasses).
The marathon trip started as Flight 870 in balmy St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday morning.
“That aircraft diverted to another city,” the announcement sounded in Moline.
Bad weather forced the flight away from the Quad Cities.
“We knew there was a storm,” said passenger Ashley Brown, Moline. “But we didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.”
The view from the Moline terminal was bad enough on Thursday. This flight wound up in sunny but frigid South Dakota.
“As soon as the weather clears, they will attempt to come back,” the announcement continued.
That didn’t happen. Passengers waited four hours before the flight was cancelled.
“I thought I was in Russia,” one passenger laughed.
“If we would have been there any longer, we would have formed a circle and sang Christmas carols,” continued Martens, who spent the night in the South Dakota airport.
Relief, then, as they retrieved their bags on Friday morning. After the airport sent choirs home on Thursday, the Wilson Middle School orchestra returned with Santa.
The message board that brought bad news finally finished the flight more than 24 hours later.
“We’re finally here,” Martens concluded. “It was great. It’s a great Christmas. Merry Christmas to everyone.”
That’s a holiday homecoming worth the wait.