STUART, Fla. - The deep freeze is stranding thousands of people across the country for days at a time. Among them is a Treasure Coast woman stuck in Indiana as her family wonders when she and her luggage will come home.
Thousands of delays and cancelations this week have put a strain on the air travel system and also on the customer service telephone lines that are supposed to help stranded passengers. A snapshot of air travel in America this week shows long lines, unclaimed bags and frustration from the frozen Midwest to south Florida.
"It's beyond frustrating. It's hurtful. It's rude. It's unacceptable," said Caitlin Rosenlieb of Stuart who just wants her mother back home. But Kathy Lister, 63, is still waiting for a flight to Palm Beach International Airport from Indianapolis. Lister's bags - at this point - are no where to be found. "Absolutely no idea where the luggage is at this point," said Rosenlieb.
What is worse, is that Rosenlieb's grandmother's luggage is also missing with important medications inside.
"She had taken enough for her for a few days because she figured, if you lose your luggage, it takes maybe a day or two to get your luggage back," said Rosenlieb, who said she has been on the phone - and on hold - a lot since Sunday.
"This is day-by-day every person that we have talked to," she said, pointing to the notes she took while waiting to speak with airline customer service representatives. "It's a total of almost three pages."
In the last seven days, there have been more than 17,000 cancelations and more than 40,000 delays in the U.S. It is no wonder that customer service phone lines have been bogged down.
"Two hours and four minutes on the phone," said Rosenlieb.
Lister is supposed to be on a flight to PBIA sometime on Wednesday but it is unclear if that will actually happen because, experts say, it could be another week before the system is back up to speed.