United Airlines passengers stranded at Bush Airport as storms cause cancellation of dozens of flights

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Strong storms late Sunday night caused big headaches for travelers at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Hundreds of passengers were left stranded as dozens of flights were canceled amid a ground stop due to the weather.

Some passengers in the United Airlines terminal at the airport told ABC13 they pleaded for help from the company as the weather impacted their flights.

United responded to customers on Twitter that it was dealing with higher call volumes than normal due to irregular operations.

Luggage stacked up in baggage claim as some waiting in the airport for hours slept.

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Some passengers told ABC13 it could be another 24 hours before they're able to leave.

"We don't have our bags. Can't get them. They had a lady come up to the customer service line, and she told us it would take us about five hours to get through the customer service line up to the front, at which point they would be closed. So they were going to leave everybody, and she was handing out cards with an 800 number on it," said Debra Bonanno, who was stuck at the airport.

Some said it could be another day before they're able to leave. One woman who got there Sunday afternoon said she won't be able to leave until Tuesday. Others resorted to renting a car and driving home, halfway across the country.

United Airlines released a statement Monday afternoon about the impact on customers.

"Sunday evening and earlier today, our customers were affected by severe weather that caused numerous operational disruptions and airport closures that prevented aircraft from landing and taking off. We are working diligently to assist and rebook our customers who have been affected by these storms with alternative flight options to get them to their destination as soon as possible and we are in the process of completing recovery of our baggage operations as well. As customers waited for assistance, we provided meal vouchers and amenity carts with additional snacks and beverages. Waiver policies, which allow customers to change their flight at no cost, remain in place for customers who are traveling through IAH today. We encourage our customers to visit united.com or see our mobile app for the latest updates."

"We go to customer service. The line has hundreds and hundreds of people. This is the shortest line we found. We don't have bags, we don't know where we're staying, we don't have a flight," said customer Patricia Herz.

"We were offered $50 for our trouble. I think United can keep their $50," said customer Michael Maisey.

Travel experts recommend purchasing travel insurance for each and every trip, to cover your expenses if you become stranded.

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