The odyssey has come to an end.
Dozens of Venezuelans who had been stranded at Miami International Airport due to canceled flights from Santa Bárbara Airlines as a result of Hurricane Irma and who lived in the airport terminal for days, finally arrived in Caracas on Tuesday night.
Passengers said their plane landed at the Simón Bolívar International Airport in the Venezuelan capital around 10 p.m., after making a stop at Las Américas International Airport in the Dominican Republic.
When they left Miami Tuesday afternoon, they were given a handwritten document for a connecting flight to Caracas, but there was some concern because there was no flight to Venezuela on the Santo Domingo airport itinerary. However, those on the flight said arrangements were carried out without mishap.
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“We were treated well, the transfer was fast and the bags arrived well,” said Francoise Viera, who was traveling with her two children.
Luz Sánchez, the daughter of one of the affected travelers, said that flight 1421 of the Venezuelan airline Aserca had been set up as promised. The group of about 70 stranded passengers had traveled from Miami to Santo Domingo on a regular flight from PAWA Dominicana airline that was used to accommodate the stranded Santa Bárbara airline passengers.
It is estimated that at least 300 Venezuelans had been stranded in Miami at one point after Santa Bárbara canceled flights from Sept. 8-12.
Of the 300 passengers, some managed to get on flights of the same airline while others decided to buy seats on other airlines. But dozens held out, hoping that new Santa Bárbara flights would be scheduled in the coming days. The airline said in a statement on Twitter that passengers of canceled flights have until Sept. 30 to reschedule a new flight, without penalty or difference in airfare.
However, a group of more than 70 had been sleeping at the Miami International Airport, eating in the hallways, sleeping on the floor and even washing in the restrooms.
Follow Johanna A. Álvarez on Twitter: @jalvarez8.