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More flights out of TIA canceled as Northeast recovers from blizzard

From left, sisters Jennie and Catherine Alvarado and cousin Leslie Santana wait to go home to the Bronx, N.Y. Their flight Monday from Orlando to Newark, N.J., was canceled. The family paid $200 for a cab ride from Orlando to Tampa and booked a flight from Tampa to Washington that was scheduled to leave Tuesday.

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON | Times

From left, sisters Jennie and Catherine Alvarado and cousin Leslie Santana wait to go home to the Bronx, N.Y. Their flight Monday from Orlando to Newark, N.J., was canceled. The family paid $200 for a cab ride from Orlando to Tampa and booked a flight from Tampa to Washington that was scheduled to leave Tuesday.

Twenty-one flights between Tampa International Airport and the Northeast were canceled Tuesday as the region continued to recover from a holiday blizzard.

Most of the canceled flights were headed in or out of New York's major airports, by far the biggest market for Tampa International Airport.

The massive storm forced airlines to cancel 57 flights in and out of TIA on Monday. Airport officials said it could be days before flights out of TIA will have seats for travelers on canceled flights.

Many gathered with their bags at TIA on Tuesday morning said they expected to fly out on time. But Australia Ruiz said she and her son and daughter, visiting relatives in Tampa, were supposed to fly out Sunday for Newark, N.J. They rescheduled a flight for Tuesday but upon arriving, learned they now would not fly back until Friday.

"It's stressful and tiring," Ruiz said as she and her family ate breakfast at the airport Burger King. She waited in line 2 1/2 hours to be rebooked for Friday, she said.

She said it was the longest she had ever been delayed while traveling. But Ruiz said she and her children would try to make the best of it and turn the long delay into a short vacation. She said they might go to Orlando and visit Disney World.

Austin and Nicole Majette of St. Petersburg didn't have it quite as bad, but they still got slapped with a long day at the airport Tuesday.

Austin Majette said they were supposed to leave early Tuesday, but their flight was delayed until late evening because of all the other delays that day. It meant their 10:30 a.m. arrival time was pushed back until 10:30 p.m., he said.

"There's not much you can do but wait," he said.

At least stranded passengers didn't need to bunk down in the airport terminal. Tampa Bay hotels have plenty of vacancies during the traditionally slow holiday season. Some hotels even called the airport asking officials to send people without accommodations their way.

Many travelers flying out early Tuesday were delayed while airlines de-iced planes parked overnight at Tampa International. Eighteen flights ran late, including one US Airways flight that was delayed 2 1/2 hours.

The northern East Coast got as much as 32 inches of snow in some areas, and wind gusts were as high as 80 mph. In New York City, some were stranded in subways, and packed airports began to run out of food Monday.

New York's John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports and New Jersey's Newark Liberty reopened Monday evening and were expected to remain open Tuesday. The airports closed Sunday or early Monday.

More flights out of TIA canceled as Northeast recovers from blizzard 12/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 10:22pm]
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