FORT MYERS, Fla. - Although some of the flight delays are starting to thaw, it could still be days before many make it back home, and that's becoming an unplanned expense for travelers.

"We actually checked in and had to check back out because they told us the flight was cancelled," airline passenger Diane Degenais explains.

For the last 24 hours her family of four, trying to get back to Buffalo, New York, has been doing nothing but spending money.

"We had to go and get a hotel room here at the airport, and essentially we had to pay for lunch and dinner as well," Degenais tells WINK News.

For them, a few hundred dollars wasn't too far out of their budget, although it wasn't planned. Then, they found out their flight was delayed again. Now, the family will be spending two more nights in a hotel, costing them even more.

John Iannone thought his roundtrip ticket form Boston was a steal at $250. That was until he got struck trying to fly back today.

"That's a wash now, that's a wasted amount, whatever the return is. And, my Jet Blue flight back is costing me more than double that."

Some of Iannone's family decided to spend the money to rent a car and drive back. For him, he estimates his grand total in unplanned expenses at nearly $700, which doesn't even include the money he's losing while not being at work.

But there is a bright side for local businesses. A handful of hotels and restaurants are cashing in on the delays the weather has caused.

RENEE STOLL, REPORTER

renee.stoll@winknews.com