Thousands of bags pile up in airports’ baggage claims after Christmas delays

Thousands of bags were seen piled up in multiple U.S. airports on Monday as people attempt to head back home after the Christmas weekend.

In Florida, bags were stranded at Tampa International Airport due to a winter storm impacting much of the country. Airlines have had to cancel numerous flights over the weather, leaving travelers stuck at airports.

Every airline has had to cancel a number of flights over the weekend but Southwest Airlines has canceled more than 3,000 flights since Christmas Day, and many of the bags stranded at Tampa International appear to belong to passengers of those flights.

Passenger Catherine Halek had her flight to Nashville canceled on Sunday after her bags were loaded on what was initially going to be her plane.

“Somebody came out and said if you are flying to Nashville, go home, your bags will not come out tonight,” she told FOX 13.

Another passenger, Kit Lu, flew in to see family three days ago, but her luggage is still in Southwest’s cancelations and connecting flights that either never departed or were stranded in Tampa.

“We have two girls and none of us have any clothes,” Lu said.

Luggage was also seen piled up throughout Chicago’s Midway International Airport on Monday, as hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed because of the winter storm.

More than half of the Southwest flights at that airport were canceled Monday and travelers found it difficult to retrieve their bags. Travelers said they have not been told enough information to be able to locate their bags.

“At first we were told that our bags would be down here, so we went and searched the whole area. My bag is kind of distinctive, and I can’t find it,” passenger Dori Velligan told WMAQ-TV.

Southwest said they are rebooking as many customers as possible and that people who have had flights canceled may ask for a refund or receive a credit.

“We are still experiencing significant disruptions across our network as a result of winter storm Elliott’s lingering effects on the totality of our operation,” Southwest said in a statement. “With the weather now considerably more favorable, we continue work to stabilize and improve our operation.”

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