Thousands of bags pile up in Tampa International Airport's baggage claim after Christmas weekend

It's not just travelers who were stranded because of the winter storm that hit a good portion of the US. Thousands of bags have piled up at Tampa International Airport, waiting for their owners to claim them. 

The bags in the red section of TPA's baggage claim are packed as tightly together as they are filled with shattered dreams of a great Christmas.

"Each bag represents a person trying to get somewhere," said Kelly Woods, whose flight to Chicago has been canceled, several times. "My four-year-old granddaughter is waiting for me in Chicago. I was supposed to be there yesterday. I am just going to go home now. I am tired. I haven't slept in two days."

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Though every airline has had to cancel numerous flights, Southwest has had more than 3,000 flights canceled since Christmas Day. Many of the bags appear to belong to passengers on those flights.

"They said the bags from our flight are right in this area, so we get to look through and try to find them," said passenger Bill Hendricks.

Catherine Halek of Pinellas Park had her flight to Nashville, Tennessee canceled Sunday, but after her bags were loaded on to what was supposed to be her plane.

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"Somebody came out and said if you are flying to Nashville, go home, your bags will not come out tonight," said Halek.

Kit Lu flew in to see family three days ago. Her bags are somewhere in Southwest's shuffle of cancelations and connecting flights that never took off, or that got stranded in Tampa.

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

"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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Southwest also said they are rebooking as many customers as possible, but that depends on there being available seats. Those who have had flights canceled can ask for a refund or get a credit.

They're encouraging people with lost luggage to speak with baggage workers at the airport, who have, of course, had a busy day.