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Winter storm delays flights in and out of TIA, stranded passengers play the waiting game

10:15 PM, Mar 3, 2014   |    comments
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Tampa, FL -- Passengers at Tampa International Airport have been playing the waiting game: if they win, they get to fly home. If they lose, they get re-routed somewhere else and then play the game all over again.

"We have been stuck out here for two days," said an elderly couple trying to get home after their Carnival Cruise last week.  "We live in Dayton, Ohio and there is nothing coming in or out of there, I guess because of the storm. So they said today we might be able to get to Columbus and then drive the hour to our home."

They were just two passengers among hundreds waiting at the departures area of the airport. 

Since early Monday morning, there were 18 canceled departure flights, 23 delayed departure flights, and 22 canceled arriving flights, with 16 arrival delays. 

LINK: Tampa International Airport Flight Status
More: Another icy punch for the mid-Atlantic

"I need to get to New York's LaGuardia Airport, but now they have me deciding if I want to fly into White Plains or Hartford," said another stranded passenger. "I'm picking White Plains."

A family traveling on vacation for three weeks from Cape Town, South Africa came to Orlando and Sarasota for a few days and now they are stuck at TIA.

"Well, we were supposed to fly out of here at 8:30 this morning and now they are telling us we can't get into New York until a flight leaves at 4:00 this afternoon. So we are hoping they can fly us somewhere close by sooner," said Carel Dirker. 

Eventually TIA found his family a flight into Boston at 10:30 a.m.

"We just have to keep moving out feet so we don't sit to long, that's important," said Dirker.

His wife, Carla did not seem to mind the waiting game.

"It's fun. I am excited, because it is like, 'Well, what will we experience next that we didn't plan for?'" said Carla Dirker. 

They were ready though, for the cold weather, packing boots and big coats.

"We are definitely ready for the blizzard we are flying into apparently, but hopefully we will just get there to stay on our plan," said Dirker. 

They believe they won their waiting game, for now.  However, they are about to fly into Boston.

"I hope we make it safely to New York; we really want to do all the sights there, the Empire State Building, 9/11 memorial, we have a show we are booked for too."  

If you want to check the status of your flight, you can use USA TODAY's flight tracker.

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