Many Iowans who hoped to fly to points west for the holiday weekend are finding their plans buried in a deep snowdrift. The closing of the Denver airport during the blizzard that dumped 18-inches of snow on that part of Colorado forced the canceling of thousands of flights and is causing all sorts of backups and overbookings at airports across the region.

Des Moines travel agent Terry Beech says even if Denver does reopen soon, “they’ve got a lot of aircraft they’ve got to get in different cities, so it’s going to be a good two to three days before they’re back to normal.” Beech urges Iowans who were scheduled to fly in the next few days to check in with their airline immediately, on the phone or on-line, to confirm the flight still exists.

Beech says “The only thing they can do is try to reach the airline. I know that’s going to be extremely difficult. Expect long waits on the line.” Beech says the airline will have to rebook them on a different flight or try to put them on another airline. If you don’t go through the airline, she says you may have to forfeit the cost of your original ticket.

For Iowa fliers who were booked on flights that have already been canceled, Beech says they may have to make due where they are now as getting a new seat will be a challenge. “I hate to say ‘simply out of luck,’ on the other hand, I’m afraid that may be the case. A lot of the airlines just have planes where they’re not supposed to be so I think it’s going to be extremely difficult.”