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Tourists Pack South Florida’s Airports For Flights Home

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Travelers stuck in South Florida after airports in the northeast shutdown because of Hurricane Irene can expect a busy day at Miami and Ft. Lauderdale’s airports.

Airports in cities like Philadelphia, New York and Boston are resuming normal operations on Monday. Airlines will be doing their best to fill open seats; but demand is still high.

For Chase and Rebecca Paquette, the entire experience was summed up by Rebecca, “It’s annoying.”

“We’re coming home from Jamaica. We’re stuck here until tomorrow,” Chase said. “We were supposed to be flying into Boston, but we can’t get a flight out until tomorrow to D.C. We have family there and we’re going to get a ride from there.”

Miami International Airport officials said 16 arrivals and four departures were canceled due to weather conditions related to Irene. Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reported 28 arrivals and 13 departures were canceled to cities including Boston, Long Island, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Hartford and Newark.

“Up until 11:30 this morning, we only had 20 flights canceled, that’s a mostly improved number from over the weekend where were averaging about 100 to 110 flights,” said MIA spokesperson Mark Henderson.

At MIA, Shane Stevens said he was on cruise when Irene hit the Bahamas.

“It was crazy, we were almost thrown out of our beds in the middle of the night, so everybody woke up, everybody got sea sick,” said Stevens.

“We’re actually from Virginia – Norfolk, Virginia,” said Phelecia Riddick Devnam who rode out the storm in South Florida.

Monday morning they were flying back after talking with friends who described what went on.

“We had the power go out, there was a lot of rain, a lot of damage,” said Devnam.

And then there’s Kenneth Nicholas and his mom Susan. They have been trying to get to New York after vacationing in Germany.

“The flight to JFK was canceled, so they rebooked us to Miami,” Kenneth said. “So now, we’re looking for anything to get to JFK.”

Tourists trying to get home on Monday are urged to call their airline ahead of time to check on their flight status.

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