Travelers ‘beyond frustrated’ by Southwest Airlines cancellation: ‘It was hell’

A winter storm that disrupted travel plans over the weekend and created an epic pile of flight cancellations for Southwest Airlines left the airline’s passengers “extremely disappointed.” Sun put it on CBS DFW. Thousands of families are stranded, with some days waiting to board planes.

Now, two Democratic senators are calling on the carrier to make travelers complete “substantial cash compensation for disrupting their vacation plans.”

“Southwest plans to release $428 million in earnings next year—the company can do the right thing by the consumers it has hurt,” Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut He said Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Southwest canceled more than 2,600, or 64%, of its scheduled flights as of 5:50 p.m. ET, according to the flight-tracking website. FlightAware. This was more than half of the nearly 5,000 flights canceled today. Other airlines also continued to experience disruptions, with Southwest leading the way with 870 delayed flights.

Talia Jones, a Southwest Air customer, told CBS DFW that she was “very frustrated and hurt because I can’t see my dad. So yeah, it’s very disappointing.”

On Monday afternoon, the boardroom at Dallas Love Field, Southwest’s main hub, showed that all access had been canceled, according to reporter Kelly Lacko.

At Chicago’s Midway International Airport—where Southwest is the primary carrier—wait times were high, and patience was running out on Monday night. CBS Chicago said.

One traveler described the situation as nothing short of chaotic. In addition to long lines taking up space, hundreds and hundreds of bags were waiting to be claimed as cancellations and delays continued to pile up.

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“It was hell,” said Denzel Smithers, whose flight was cancelled.

People also took to social media to blast Southwest, including a Twitter user who on Tuesday to publish Video of bags stacked in Chicago at Midway Airport.

“We know irregular operations are frustrating for everyone involved, and we are truly sorry for any disappointment,” Southwest said. Tell One traveler on Twitter is upset by the flurry of canceled flights.

On Monday, the Federal Department of Transportation said it would investigate the crash, saying it was “concerned by Southwest Airlines’ disproportionate and unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays, as well as the failure to provide adequate support to customers experiencing cancellations or delays.”

“As more information becomes available, the department will closely examine whether cancellations are manageable and whether Southwest is in compliance with its customer service plan as well as all other relevant DOT rules,” the department said in a statement.

Traveler Michael Bowson and his family planned to fly out of Orlando International Airport on Friday to fly home to Indianapolis in time for Christmas Sunday. Instead, the four vacationed at a hotel after their flight was cancelled, Pawson told CBS affiliate WKMG, and returned to the airport on Monday — where they continued to wait.

“We got in this morning at 4:30 for a 7:05 flight, we looked for it, and lo and behold, it just got cancelled,” he said, pointing to a wriggling line in front of the southwest service desk. “It’s a four to five hour line… before they can get us on a flight – if they can get us on a flight,” he said.

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Southwest has canceled more than 2,800 flights
Passengers line up at the Southwest Airlines counter at San Francisco International Airport on December 26, 2022.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Massive storm, outdated technology

Southwest, in a statement that opened Monday with “sincere apologies,” said its geography made it “uniquely” vulnerable to the storm, with half of the airports it flies at affected by winter weather.

“We are fully staffed and ready for the approaching weekend when severe weather has swept the continent Southwest is the largest airline in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the US This has forced daily changes to our flight schedule with size and volume that still owns The tools our teams are using to get the airline back up and running at capacity.” statment He said.

“We expect additional changes with the level of flights already declining as the New Year’s holiday travel period approaches,” he noted.

The company also blames a lack of technology. “Part of what we’re struggling with is a lack of tools. We’ve talked a lot about modernizing the process, and the need to do that,” CEO Bob Jordan said in an internal message Sunday that was reported by multiple media outlets. Ports and Union of Hostesses.

Many are now calling on Southwest to do more than just apologize. Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts are calling on the carrier to give passengers cash to make up for their inconvenience. They noted that the company, which plans to give away $428 million in dividends next year, “can do the right thing by the consumers it has hurt.”

“Southwest cannot avoid compensating passengers by claiming these flight cancellations were due to recent winter storms. As Southwest executives admitted, yesterday’s mass cancellations were largely due to failures of its internal systems,” they said Tuesday.

Phone lines and systems jammed

Meanwhile, the flight attendants union, Transit Workers Union 556, has accused the airline of contributing to the problem by underinvesting in technology for years.

“A lack of technology has resulted in the airline’s reliance on manual solutions and personal phone calls, leaving flight attendants on hold with Southwest Airlines for up to 17 hours at a time to be released to go home after their flight, or while they try to secure security,” the federation said in a statement. “a hotel room or know where their next flight is going to be.” Statement “While re-routing and rescheduling is understood to be part of the job in the airline industry, the sheer scale of failure over the past few days indicates evasion of responsibility over many years to invest in technology that can To help solve the problem and implement many issues that afflict flight attendants and passengers alike.

Etihad and the airline are in negotiations for the four-year contract.

On Tuesday, a public interest research group called for an overhaul of airline regulations and tougher punishment for airlines that chronically delay or cancel flights.

“While bad weather is no one’s fault, the way passengers were treated and accommodated – or not – rests with most airlines,” Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog at PIRG, said in a statement.

–With reporting by Zelle Elvey, Kathryn Krupnik, Chris Van Cleef, and Brian Dax.

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