DENVER (KDVR) — As winter weather moves back into Colorado, passengers at Denver International Airport are bracing for another round of potential delays and cancellations. 

Wednesday afternoon, the lines at Southwest Airlines’ check-in counter were significantly shorter than the past few days. However, the airline canceled 53% of its flights scheduled to either land at or depart from Denver. 

Family stuck in Denver after canceled layover

The longest lines could be found at Southwest’s baggage area. Several Southwest employees volunteered on their day off to help sort luggage and aid passengers in trying to locate their bags. 

“I’m just trying to be as optimistic as possible. It’s a terrible situation and if you get too wrapped up in that, then it makes it worse than what it really is,” Kyle Saulter said.

Saulter and his family are from Iowa. They planned to spend the week in Portland but had a layover in Denver on Christmas Day. 

“It was only supposed to be like an hour or so,” he said.

They have been stranded at the airport ever since. 

They are now hoping to catch a flight Wednesday night or Thursday morning, at the same time the next blast of winter weather is forecast to hit the Front Range. 

“I don’t think a little bit of snow is going to be that big of a deal,” Saulter said. “I would assume with this being Denver and the snowfall that they get here that they have it under control.”

Flights already canceled for Thursday

Aside from the incoming weather, Southwest Airlines has already canceled 272 flights in and out of Denver for Thursday. Depending on weather conditions, more delays and cancellations could stack up across multiple airlines. 

“We are hoping that we are home tonight by 1 a.m. back in Raleigh,” Nolan McKenna said. 

McKenna, his wife and his daughter have been stranded in Denver since Dec. 24.

“The hardest part is losing our baggage,” he said. 

According to McKenna, he has spent nearly $2,500 purchasing basic necessities like food, clothes and a carseat for their infant. The bulk of the money went to a new set of plane tickets on a different airline to get home. 

“The new flight was a paycheck for me,” he said. 

He says he is optimistic their flight will get out of Denver Wednesday night, but they are worried about the weather affecting the rest of their journey. 

“We got a notification from the delta that the water in Atlanta airport, which is where we’re laying over, is frozen and so there’s no water available in the airport right now,” McKenna said.