TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – If you’re taking to the skies this Christmas Eve, you might need to pack your patience.
As of 3 p.m. Thursday, dozens of flights were delayed at Tampa International Airport. Many of those flights involve travel to the Northeast, where heavy rain and thunderstorms are creating a backlog for flights across the nation, including here in Tampa.
Delta Airlines had the most cancellations and delays for flights into and out of its hub in Atlanta.
Most passengers weren’t affected by the delays, including Sammie Fudge who flew in from Detroit. “That was great,” Fudge said because her flight was not delayed.
At the same time, Maya DeAngelis had been waiting for her husband to fly in from Atlanta for hours. “His flight has not departed yet,” she said as she sipped her Starbucks and prepared for the wait. “And then probably I’ll have a short nap after this,” she joked.
The National Weather Service says the storm causing these delays will continue throughout Christmas Eve, meaning delays could continue to stack up. The tornadoes that tore through the South last night left death and destruction in their wake. At least seven people were killed and dozens of others were injured.
Besides the delays and cancellations, many passengers enjoyed emotional reunions today. “I was so excited,” said Deb Saunders of St. Pete Beach moments after her daughter got off the plane. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she said, “It’s better than peein’ in your pants. I was just so excited. I was like, Oh my God. This came out.”
No one would probably guess that Deb and her daughter, Laramie Rapp who was visiting from Minnesota, had seen each other just three months ago. “Mostly crying because she’s crying,” Laramie said. “Hard not to cry when your mom’s crying.”
Mom and daughter know they’ll be spending Christmas Eve as well as Christmas together. “It going to be good,” Deb said. “We’re very excited and her brother’s coming tonight and we’re just so happy.”
“And we’ll probably cry again,” Laramie said.
“Yeah, it doesn’t get to happen every Christmas,” Deb added.
To find the status of your flight, contact your airline directly or click on Tampa International Airport’s website.
Check the status of flights at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport here.
Check the status of flights at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport here.
Check the status of flights at Orlando International Airport here.