Winter Storm Nemo: Thousands stranded at TIA by northeast blizzard

5:54 PM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- The winter white-out up north is freezing travel plans for thousands of passengers. 

At least 45 flights in and out of Tampa International Airport had to be canceled.

Look up flight information at TIA's website

But faced with the choice of being stuck here -- or just about anyplace else -- most passengers seemed glad to be here instead of socked-in by a snowstorm.

As the cancellations started piling up, the Bahcecik family from Instanbul, Turkey settled in.

When they left their hotel Friday morning, Sinan, the father, had a nagging feeling he'd forgotten something. And he did.

Like checking the weather.

"With the two kids and lots of luggage, you forget something. And that's why we came here and realized the situation," he confessed.

After a week in Orlando, they came to Tampa figuring it would make for an easy connection, but their flight through JFK was canceled.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Northeast winter storm

"We have, at the moment, a seven hour layover," said his wife Didem.

Despite their frustration, passengers agreed it was better to be on this end of the cancellations. Warm weather here. Not so much anywhere else.

In fact, the Bahcecik figured if they got stuck here overnight they'd just visit yet another theme park, "and see Busch Gardens!" Didem laughed.

In the meantime, Tampa International was a comfortable confine. The couple's 6 and 11 year-old daughters took full advantage wireless Internet. Fellow travelers had their pick of shops and new and improved restaurant choices.

"If we have to stay somewhere, it's the best place to stay here in Tampa," said Didem.

And at least for the Bahcecik family, that stay ended up being a few extra hours, not days.

United airlines re-routed them through Chicago... a lot colder than Tampa they admitted, but one step closer to home.

Airline workers say travelers can expect it to be just as busy, if not moreso on Saturday, as passengers whose flights were canceled try to get on new flights.

There's a a pretty good tool out there if you want to see which flights have been canceled. You can look up the information by airport, airline, even flight number by clicking here.

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