HEBRON, Ky. -- Santa Claus will be traveling by rental car this year after he got stranded at the airport.
Professional Santa Jeff Driscoll, of Phoenix, had been scheduled to fly home from Cincinnati early Monday and join about 20 children at a day care's Christmas party that evening. Instead, he became one of many passengers dealing with Frontier Airlines' rash of delayed and canceled flights across the country.
"I'm used to seeing kids smile, especially when they sit on Santa Claus's lap and talk to Santa...And now it makes me feel bad, because I'm kind of spoiling a Christmas for them, especially if they're on that cusp of believing and not believing in Santa," he said.
Driscoll arrived at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport at about 4:30 a.m. for the 6:50 a.m. flight. It wasn't until about 20 minutes before their scheduled departure that the passengers learned the flight was delayed, he said.
The Phoenix-bound passengers were told that their flight was delayed because their plane, due in Cincinnati via Las Vegas, had not yet arrived in Las Vegas, according to Driscoll.
Frontier Airlines spokesman Jim Faulkner said the delays were all weather-related, though no other airline seemed to have issues as widespread.
Capt. Brian Ketchum of the Frontier pilots' union blamed the airline's "misplaced focus on cost-cutting" for the delays and cancelations.
Driscoll's flight home was delayed a couple more times until about noon. Frontier staff told passengers another plane would be brought in from Pittsburgh.
However, Driscoll checked online and saw his flight was listed as "canceled."
"I feel like they lied to us the whole time," Driscoll said.
With no other flights available until Wednesday, Driscoll took a refund from Frontier and said he planned to drive home in a rental car. But even with a 24-hour drive ahead of him, he said the worst part was disappointing the children expecting Santa Claus at their party.
"It kind of breaks my heart," Driscoll said.