Hoping to be home for Christmas - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hoping to be home for Christmas

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Nearly a week after a snowstorm in London, flights at Heathrow Airport are finally getting back to normal. The terminal was basically shut down for several days, with travelers lining the floors and even camping outside, waiting for runways to open up. Heathrow said about 90 percent of flights are running again.

The challenge now, is finding space for all the cancelled or delayed travelers among the already scheduled flights. Since it is Christmas, almost all planes are full, or have very limited numbers of seats, and Heathrow was already operating near capacity.

One Iowa student, Lizzy Lockard, is in London waiting for her chance to fly home.

"I was shopping a couple days ago, and heard that song I'll be home for Christmas, and... just having her home! You know there's something about Christmas that intensifies your emotions anyway. And I just miss her," said mother Amy Lockard.

For now, she can only see her daughter on the computer. Lizzy is stranded in her dorm room, one of the final study-abroad gals left in England.

"It's basically just me and the security guard here," she told KWWL over an online video messaging service.

Lizzy certainly wasn't alone last Saturday. One week before Christmas, Lizzy was among thousands of travelers, and dozens of Wartburg students, snowed in at Heathrow.

"I sat on the plane for eight hours. And they kept telling us that our flight was going to go out. Most of the flights were being cancelled or delayed, but they were like -- your flight is definitely going out," Lizzy recalled.

"She's been on several flights that were supposed to take off after that and have not," added Amy.

The ordeal is magnifying Amy's usual holiday stress. She's spent hours upon hours on the phone finding an open flight, and has finally, hopefully, booked Lizzy on a plane which will land late on Christmas Day.

"I'm going to cook up a storm, buy her some more presents -- even more than she already has, which is a lot...the sympathy vote she's getting!" said Amy.

Technology has helped the family keep in touch. But the only thing Amy wants for Christmas is to pull up her driveway, with her daughter at her side, and see the Christmas tree lit up in the window.

"I just cannot wait to hug her and I cannot wait to have all the children home. I just look forward to it so much... really appreciate what Christmas is all about," Amy said.

Amy credited the travel agency she uses for helping her bring Lizzy home. Even those agents said they're watching in disbelief as the delays keep dragging on. Lizzy noted this won't keep her from flying again -- however, it won't be for awhile since she's spent all her money in England.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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