Hurricane Sandy travel delays and airport flight cancellations: Two things airlines are watching as superstorm stops more Tampa flights

11:08 AM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Tuesday, another round of dozens of flights in and out of Tampa were canceled as northern airports shut down to brace for Sandy.

Airlines had canceled 59 flights out of Tampa International Airport for Tuesday as of 5:30 a.m. Before sunrise, 54 arriving flights had also been called off.

When you add up the dozens of passengers per plane, it's reasonable to say we may have thousands of people stranded in the Tampa Bay area waiting to fly north.

Some families are staying at the airport. We caught up with a jetBlue passenger who's hoping to get to Boston. He says the airline canceled two flights he'd been booked on from South Florida.

So he drove to Tampa, but his flight from here was canceled, too. He's now booked to fly home Saturday.

"It is scary because we've never really been hit by a bad storm up there as long as I can remember," passenger Rick Silva said.

There's a strange sight out on the tarmac in Tampa. Seventeen planes spent Monday night parked at TIA. They're refugees -- planes that were supposed to be used for flights north that have now been canceled.

In all, 124 flights in and out of Tampa were canceled Monday.

For anyone who dares to drive north, rental car agencies at Tampa's airport say they have plenty of cars available.

When might things get back to normal?

Airlines have been scheduling passengers to fly to airports on the East Coast again starting on Wednesday. But that's certainly not guaranteed.

And the storm's movement westward could close airports in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania just as some airports reopen in places like New York and Washington, DC.

In an email to 10 News, top jetBlue spokesman Mateo Lleras explained the what the airline's managers are thinking at this point.

"What we are watching: The NYC airports are at sea level and essentially on the waterfront, so we will be watching for flooding. Airport infrastructure must be operational before we even think about starting operations up again.

"Public transportation is a close second. We have to be able to get our crew members to the airport."

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Grayson Kamm, 10 News