Southwest Travel Trouble? At Least 1 Passenger Reached College Football Playoff Semifinal In Atlanta With Nary A Delay

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ATLANTA – An estimated 16,000 Southwest Airlines flights were canceled over the past week, according to the FlightAware website.

But Jimmie Harrison of Columbus, Ohio, and his luggage made it from his hometown airport on Southwest to Atlanta with little delay on Wednesday. He will be watching his son, Ohio State senior defensive end Zach Harrison, and the No. 4 Buckeyes (11-1) play No. 1 Georgia (13-0) in a College Football Playoff semifinal on Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN) in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“The flight was only delayed about 20 minutes,” Harrison said Thursday night while relaxing with fellow Ohio State parent Ronnie Hickman in the lounge at the Omni Hotel here.

“I feel lucky because I saw on the news where a bunch of flights before me and after me were delayed at Columbus and all over the country,” he said. “I was thinking about driving, but was hoping I wouldn’t have to do that.”

Columbus to Atlanta is a nine-hour drive.

“The flight left at about 3:50 p.m. and got here at about 5 p.m.,” Harrison said. “I was very surprised we got out without a hitch. I should probably play the lottery.”

Hickman, whose son is senior safety Ronnie Hickman of Wayne, New Jersey, flew on Delta out of Newark without delay.

Southwest Airlines Delays Left Crowded Airports

“But we saw a lot of people who were obviously there in the airport for a day or more with their luggage,” Hickman said. “I feel blessed. Some of the people were real boisterous about the delays. I felt bad for them. People were sleeping everywhere. It was rough.”

Harrison and Hickman feel the Buckeyes will be blessed as well against the Bulldogs, who are a touchdown favorite.

“It’s about unfinished business,” Hickman said. “We didn’t get the job done against Michigan. We need to finish when we play Georgia.”

Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. catches a touchdown during the second quarter of the Buckeyes’ loss at home to Michian on Nov. 26 at Ohio Stadium. (Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images)

The Buckeyes lost to Michigan by 45-23 on Nov. 26, but could play the No. 2 Wolverines (13-0) again for the national championship on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Michigan plays No. 3 TCU (12-1) on Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN) in the other CFP semifinal.

Ohio State- Michigan Rematch Would Be A Super Bowl

“It can’t get any greater than that, if we play Michigan again,” Hickman said. “I don’t know that a Super Bowl would be a bigger game. That would be amazing. We would have to do a follow-up interview. Maybe by then, Southwest will have it back together.”

Ohio State fans Ron Fagert and his brother Mike of Youngstown and their wives flew without delay on Delta through Pittsburgh to get to Atlanta. They’re hoping the Buckeyes’ game against Georgia goes as smoothly, unlike the Michigan game.

“We lost that game on five broken plays,” Ron Fagert said. “We can play better.”

“I think it’s going to be a fight with Georgia,” said Ohio State fan Shannon Morrison of Columbus. Morrison flew on American without incident.

“I love bowl games,” he said. “The team gets a break and is more prepared to play. I think Georgia is better than Michican, but we can beat them both.”

Harrison likes the Buckeyes’ chances.

“Yeah, because I feel very, very lucky,” he said. “We have a great chance, of course.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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