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Worries about delays and cancellations dominate Memorial Day travel

Mary Pillsbury Wainwright's trip to Ireland was pushed back twice during the pandemic. Now, she has a new worry: a 45-minute layover in Atlanta.

ST. LOUIS — John Peduzzi takes in an art display at St. Louis Lambert International Airport's Terminal 1 Monday afternoon, passing the last minutes before his wife Roberta arrives after a long delay.

"She spent the night in a hotel, and now she’s coming in this afternoon," he said.

Peduzzi said the international leg from Athens, Greece, was delayed three hours, a cause for concern made worse when they realized Roberta's connecting flight in Newark, New Jersey, was canceled while she was in the air.

"It has been awkward and not... happy," he said, adding, "but not all that terrible."

The flight information boards at Lambert shine with reasons for optimism on Monday afternoon. The vast majority of flights have "on time" attached to their name.

Still, travelers leave nothing to chance.

Jason Cunningham arrived Sunday night for a Monday morning flight. A musician who uses the name "J Scribble," he didn't want to miss his trip home to California.

"You know, if you stay ready, you do not have to get ready," he said. "If you prepared beforehand, you can never be late."

Mary Pillsbury Wainwright, with her husband Don, are more than a few hours delayed when you consider their initial itinerary. Their trip to Ireland is years in the making.

"This is a trip that we have waited almost three years to take. It is with the Missouri Botanical Garden and, unfortunately, it was postponed two years ago and then last year. But this year we’re all going," she said with the kind of confidence that leaves no room for doubt.

Still, she admits there are things outside their control; namely, a layover in Atlanta.

"We are worried," she said. 

On paper, their layover is 61 minutes.

"They close the door 15 minutes before so that gives us about 45 minutes," she said, affirming that they are ready with prayers and running shoes.

Even with all the concerns about timing, there was always a spare moment to come together one last time in Lambert's drop-off lines. Families and friends hug as they part ways after the holiday weekend.

Any minute now, it will be the Peduzzis who have the time to embrace.

"It’ll be very nice. She has been gone a week, so it’s been a while," he said, waiting a few more minutes for her long-delayed flight to touch down.

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