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Storm danger tests patience at TIA
By REBECCA CATALANELLO
Published July 17, 2007
TAMPA - Rain, thunder and lightning delayed hundreds of passengers flying into and out of Tampa Monday evening as airport officials grounded flights and ordered employees off the airfield for safety reasons.
Some travelers waited up to two hours for their luggage; others waited the same amount of time to get from the landing strip to their gates.
Twenty-three-year-old Erin Courtney's U.S. Airways flight from Charlotte, N.C., was diverted to Fort Lauderdale, with an expected Tampa arrival almost three hours past its originally scheduled 5:58 p.m. landing.
Not that Michael Nicholson, who'd arrived at the airport at 5:10 p.m., knew that.
He couldn't bear to turn his dark eyes from the arriving passengers to join the huddle of folks gazing up at the "Arrivals" monitors, for fear Courtney would step off that tram and walk right past him.
Courtney left Brooksville two weeks earlier to visit family in England, and Nicholson was ready for his girlfriend to be back.
While 3 1/2-year-old Eva Rose of Louisville bided her time eating the biggest ice cream she's ever had, while 14-year-old Christian Nold of Oldsmar fiddled with his mom's new iPhone, while hordes of people paced, complained, ate and wandered, Nicholson just waited.