TAMPA, Fla. – Instead of gathering around the tree this Christmas Eve, many were stuck at Tampa International Airport.
With AAA predicting a record 6 million Floridians traveling this holiday season, the cancellations were like a lump of coal for hundreds of travelers at TPA Saturday as a winter storm brought record-breaking temperatures and snow to much of the country. .
The massive winter storm has affected an estimated 250 million Americans. So far, the snow and cold temperatures have left more than 1 million people without power and resulted in at least 17 deaths.
Meanwhile, as of Saturday night, TPA reported at least 94 flight delays and 28 cancellations.
“We got here about 3 o’clock and found out it was delayed 4:15 or so and then they delayed it until 8:45,” said Eric Martin, who is from Indiana and is traveling to Chicago. for his flight.
The seats were full of passengers glued to the flight monitors.
“It’s definitely annoying. It’s just the time. It’s like doing a 12-hour shift at work, I guess,” Martin said.
Saturday night’s travel woes – while still a major headache for many – were an improvement over Friday. At least 175 flight delays and 75 canceled flights were reported at the Tampa airport.
Anyone traveling over the next few days should double-check flight times before departing and be sure to arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure.
“The average is about five to 10 minutes at TSA checkpoints. You don’t want to experience that on vacation. When you see the peaks, first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day and around 5 or 6 o’clock. you’re going to you see those lines get a little bit longer,” said Tampa International Airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps.
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