FORT MYERS, Fla.-- As Hurricane Irene slammed into the east coast Saturday morning, airlines at Southwest Florida International Airport canceled flights to the northeast... leaving families stranded in the airport terminal searching for a way home.
"It was a little frustrating when we couldn't get through to the carrier for the last three days. The line is all tied up," said traveler Linnea Brown.
Some major airlines dropped ticket change fees for passengers scheduled to fly to or from the east coast this weekend and early next week.
But with thousands of travelers affected, the cancellations are creating a long backlog for re-booking.
"We've gone to several different airlines and Jet Blue didn't have anything until Friday. So we were able to get out on Wednesday and we're looking forward to getting out and salvaging some of our week at home," said New York resident Jane Stone.
Some passengers said they planned to extend their vacation and wait it out. While others say they'll take their chances.
"We said well we'll rent a car and they said we'll you don't know what conditions you're going to be flying into will you be able to get gas, will things be boarded up so we're praying for the best. Just get home," Kathy Girandola said.
More than ten percent of the day's flights in southwest Florida were impacted by the storm.
With no word on when the airports up north will re-open, stranded travelers say all they can do is hope for the best.
"It sounds like everybody's doing what they can the rest is just waiting to see. We're at the mercy of the storm," Brown continued.
Nearly every airline at RSW saw some sort of delay or cancellation.
Airport officials recommend checking their website frequently for up to date flight information.