Some United passengers inconvenienced by storm

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Commercial jet flights from Minneapolis, Houston, Dallas and Chicago landed at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in the midst of a snowstorm Monday.

However, some travelers on flights to and from Denver on United Airlines and United Express in the past 36 hours have been inconvenienced.

Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said snow removal crews were working hard to keep runways clear.

"They're keeping up with it so far, but it's a struggle," Ruppel said.

Airport official Ann Copeland said American Airlines operated two flights on Boeing 757's, one each from Chicago and Dallas on Monday. A Northwest Airlines flight from Minneapolis arrived, as did Continental's 737 from Houston.

Difficulties for United passengers traveling through Denver began Sunday night when the last flight of the day, a 737, didn't operate. Copeland said the stated reason was weather in Hayden. That aircraft is routinely scheduled to spend the night on the ground at the airport to take passengers out first thing in the morning. Travelers booked on the morning flight to Denver were loaded onto two buses, Copeland said.

At mid-morning, a United Express turboprop didn't take off for Steamboat because of a mechanical problem. The unavailability of that aircraft canceled two flights into the valley.

Flights in and out of the airport serving Steamboat are booked solidly for the advancing holiday ski season. Saturday is typically the busiest day of the week at the airport, because of flights from Atlanta and Newark, for example, that operate only once a week. However, the heaviest travel days this holiday period are expected to be Monday and Dec. 27 and Jan. 2 and 3. Several airlines have added extra flights on those days to handle the crowds of vacationers headed for Steamboat.

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