Flight delays reported at SRQ, Tampa airports

November 27, 2013 

TAMPA -- The Thanksgiving rush is underway.

Travelers have been jamming the airports, and roads, Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving.

And a messy storm system working its way into the northeast isn't making things easier for air travelers across the country - including some at Tampa International Airport.

About a dozen flights were delayed earlier in the day. And those were stalled for only about 30 to 45 minutes. However, that may change dramatically as the day goes on. More snow is expected this afternoon and evening in the northeast.

At Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, a handful of flights were listed as delayed as of about 2:20 p.m. Delayed by 20 to 40 minutes were scheduled departures to Atlanta, Chicago and Boston. Also delayed were arrivals from Chicago and Boston.

"So far. But I can't tell you what will happen in a half hour," said Leonard Bloom, when asked if his trip from Tampa to Pittsburgh was going well. "It may be more delayed (later). And then we'll have to walk from here to Pittsburgh."

Comedy aside, travelers can expect the lengthy lines Bloom faced at the ticket counter and security checkpoints.

Tampa International officials trying to ease the pain

More than 43 million people are expected to travel over the long holiday weekend, according to AAA. The day before Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest travel days of the year in both the air and on the highways.

TIA officials are trying to make the process less painful for travelers with a new option called the "pre-check plan."

"Selected travelers will be able to go through without taking their belts off, without taking their electronics and liquids out," airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps said. "That'll speed things up a little at the checkpoints."

The airport has contingency plans for travelers who get stuck because of the delays.

"If people have to stay late at night and they want a blanket or a pillow or something, we usually try to provide that for them," Nipps said. "Sometimes we have cots that we'll put out if we need to. Hopefully, it won't come to that for most of our passengers, but we're prepared for it if it does."

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