"I am curious to know when a flight is diverted, do they fly back to DFW
when its safe? or is that it for the night and people have to find hotels in that diverted city?"
It all depends on the situation. Generally the airline is going to need that aircraft at the hub, so they'll wait and complete the flight if possible. But crew or mechanical problems (or very lengthy weather problems, like heavy snow or fog) can make that impossible.
I actually got caught by DFW
's weather problems on Thursday, as I was connecting at DFW
on Delta Thursday evening. We diverted to OKC
after holding for about an hour. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to get us a gate, and we sat there for about two hours (from 2100 to 2300) until they could get us cleared to go to DFW
, and we arrived around midnight. By the time we arrived, my also-delayed (from 2130) flight to IAH
had departed (at about 0005), but I was lucky enough to be able to catch the delayed (from 2115) ASA flight to HOU
, which departed around 0030.
We actually picked up passengers from a DL OAK
flight which had diverted to OKC
as well; my guess is that their flight did not continue to DFW
because their crew would have gone illegal. The aircraft for our flight continued on to SAN
(well after midnight), though under a different flight number. There were a lot of diversions on the ground at OKC
when we landed. I just wish we had diverted to IAH