ST. LOUIS – Hundreds of airline passengers who weren't planning to arrive in St. Louis spent several hours at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport on Tuesday night.
Severe storms—including tornadoes—in the Midwest forced Kansas City International Airport to suspend flights on Tuesday night. That meant flights headed for KCI were diverted to other airports, including St. Louis Airport.
"That resulted in about six diversions of flights that couldn't land in Kansas City and got relocated here temporarily," said Jeff Lea, a spokesman for St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.
About 700 passengers ended up at the airport hours after restaurants were scheduled to close.
"We’re lucky to have good partners on the airline side and the restaurant side to bring further services when we have a situation like these flights coming in from Kansas City," Lea said.
Lea said the airport worked with HMSHost, the company that operates airport restaurants, to get them to stay open late. Four restaurants, including Three Kings Pub, St. Louis Brew Master Tap Room, and the 1876 restaurant, stayed open until 11:30 p.m. or midnight.
"We’re glad that we’re receiving feedback from some of our passengers that weren't expecting to be here in St. Louis who found it great that our restaurants were still open and that's how it’s supposed to work," Lea said.
Some of those stranded passengers did make it out of St. Louis on later flights Tuesday night. Others couldn't get flights until Wednesday and their airlines found them hotel accommodations.