Airline officials say massive snowstorms across the northeast, northwest and Midwest are causing an unclaimed baggage jam at Denver International Airport.
About 150,000 travelers were expected to pass through DIA two days before Christmas, but many were unable to claim their luggage.
Thousands of unclaimed bags littered the baggage claim areas in DIA's arrivals terminal.
United Airlines cordoned off a portion of the terminal specifically to accommodate a crush of unclaimed bags.
One airport baggage handler called the backup the worst he has seen in 31 years.
Airline officials said a snowball effect of bad weather and canceled flights was sending passengers one way and their baggage another.
"We've been waiting here for 30 or 40 minutes and my bag still hasn't come," said Parris Stedman, who traveled from North Carolina to go skiing in Breckenridge.
Denise Rouxton, who traveled from Newark to Denver, hadn't seen her luggage in almost 24 hours.
She returned to DIA a day after she arrived only to find that her baggage was still in limbo.
"We just arrived to see if it was here and it's not here," she said.
Deanna Nokes was supposed to arrive in Portland, Ore., two days ahead of Christmas to see family but because of a fierce winter storm there, she was stranded in Denver and didn't expect to get home until after the holidays.
She said the location of her luggage is anybody's guess. "They don't even know where my bag is. It still could be in Vegas, or Phoenix, or Portland," she said.
Airline officials said they are working to get passengers their luggage even if it means putting luggage on different routes than passengers took.
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