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Watching Tampa air travel as winter storm blankets Midwest

7:36 AM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- We're watching Tampa International Airport's status as a winter storm coats the Great Plains and Midwest in snow.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, just two flights through Tampa International Airport had been canceled because of the storm -- one coming from and one going to St. Louis, Missouri.

That number may rise, but it is remarkably low considering the Great Plains is under great white blanket.

One arriving plane got stuck in the snow at the airport in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday. The city got 14 inches of snow and it was too much for the United jet to taxi through.

The flight from Denver had to be towed to the terminal. Folks on board say they were eating cookies and telling jokes to pass the time.

Kansas City's airport was coated with snow, as well. Crews worked well into the night to get the airport ready to reopen for Friday morning.

The airport's Twitter account said as of 1 a.m. Central Time, it was open for business. But will anyone come Friday morning?

Kansas City International Airport's traffic may see an interesting reversal of the troubles we used to see with winter weather.

Up until a year or so ago, airlines tended to hope airports would reopen; the airlines would not cancel flights until the last minute, praying that crews could get airports back on track after storms.

The result was thousands of passengers stuffed into other airports with no answers, then waves of huge disappointments when passengers' flights were canceled right before they were supposed to board, since their destination airports weren't open yet.

Now, airlines are far better at canceling flights well in advance and re-booking people for flights on future days. For example, 50 flights in and out of Kansas City's airport had already been canceled for Friday even before the first plane was scheduled to take off in the morning.

So Kansas City crews worked all night to get their airport ready, but many of their anticipated travelers may have already had their flights canceled and been booked onto flights on Saturday or Sunday.

Follow 10 News reporter Grayson Kamm on Twitter at @graysonkamm as he travels Tampa Bay telling your stories.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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