Tornado warning disrupts DIA: Frontier jets damaged by hail, flights diverted and canceled by storm

38 flights diverted

DENVER - A large thunderstorm that moved over Denver International Airport property on Wednesday prompted a tornado warning, damaged jets and canceled, diverted and delayed dozens of flights.

Flights and security screenings were suspended while part of DIA was covered under the tornado warning. The warning did not include the airport terminal so passengers were not told to shelter.

Frontier Airlines said that 13 of its flights were canceled because of hail damage to six jets in its Airbus fleet.

"The aircraft remain out of service as our maintenance team performs inspections," Frontier spokeswoman Kate O'Malley said.

In all, 40 flights were diverted to Amarillo, Texas; Grand Junction and Colorado Springs.

Although the airport said flights were delayed an average of 90 minutes, the monitors inside the airport show delays of up to 5 hours.

During the peak of the storm over the airport property,  trains inside the airport were put on hold. They also asked passengers to delay coming to the airport until the storm passed.

Frontier's call center, not far from the airport, was evacuated because of the tornado warning.

Because the terminal and concourse buildings were not covered in the warning, none of the passengers already inside were taken to tornado shelters. However, construction crews working outside on the new hotel and transit center were told to shelter in the garage.

The Cantina restaurant inside the airport had minor water damage from the storm.

After the warning over the airport property expired, at about 2:51 p.m., security screenings resumed. But by that time, flights were delayed and travelers had a difficult time getting to the airport because of heavy hail on the roads.

Photos from Pena Boulevard showed significant amounts of hail in the area. Snow plows were called in to remove the hail from the roadways.

Check the DIA website for updated details on individual flights.

Frontier has issued a travel policy for the storm to allow flexibility for those traveling to, from or through Denver Wednesday and Thursday. For more information or to check the status of a flight, please visit the Frontier website

Also, due to an overwhelming number of calls to Frontier's call centers, passengers who do not have to travel to, from or through Denver Wednesday or Thursday are asked to wait to contact the airline to make alternate travel arrangements. Those who need a refund should fill out the online refund request: FlyFrontier.custhelp.com/app/refund_request.

 

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