The TSA line wrapped to the escalators, baggage stacked up as bags make it to other airports without their owners, and according to Flight Aware, the SLC airport saw 79 canceled flights on Monday, Dec. 26. Fifty of those cancellations came from Southwest Airlines, and passengers weren’t happy about it.
“It’s been horrible,” said fed-up flyer Cynthia Dillon.
“This is not really the time you wanna be stuck stranded in the airport, especially with no solution whatsoever,” tired traveler Nadya Florez said.
Hundreds of people waited in line for answers from Southwest Airlines about their canceled and delayed flights.
“So far, it’s been about an hour and 30 minutes,” traveler Julia Butters said as she waited in line to speak to a customer service representative.
“I’ve been waiting in line for two and half hours,” Bay area native DeAndre Lee said.
Want to call customer service? Good luck.
“Called customer service, and their lines were down,” Lee said.
No matter if you hoped to land in Oakland, Denver or Austin, these travelers were all in the same situation.
“I’m sitting here stuck. Can’t get home,” Lee said.
Many said their flights were delayed for hours on end and then canceled.
Others said they didn’t know their flight was canceled until they got to the airport
Some made it to Salt Lake City without their baggage; Some had their baggage sent their destination without them.
Many travelers had expected to be home by Christmas Eve, and they still didn’t know when they’ll get home three days later.
“Many people spent those three days on the floor at the airport,” Dillon said.
One family said instead of spending Christmas at home with their 16-month-old baby, they spent the holiday eating gas station food in a hotel room they’re not getting compensated for.
“They’re refusing to pay for the hotel room, refusing to give us money vouchers or anything just because they’re trying to blame the weather for all of this,” Jennifer Dorchuck said.
So they’re taking the matter into their own hands.
“We’re gonna try and get our money back here and drive back to Houston, which is a 24-hour drive,” Dorchuck said.
Others said they were somewhat compensated — if you could call it that.
“They gave me a voucher for another flight that same day when there were no other flights available,” Dillon said.
And while stuck in the same nightmare, travelers could agree on one thing when asked if they’d ever fly Southwest again.
“I doubt it,” Lee said.
“We probably won’t fly with them again,” Dorchuck said.
“I don’t know how they’re in business. I really don’t, and I hope they aren’t anymore,” Dillon said.
Southwest Airlines released the following statement:
We are still experiencing disruptions across our network as a result of Winter Storm lingering effects on the totality of our operation. With the weather now considerably more favorable, we continue work to stabilize and improve our operation.
We are re-accommodating as many Customers as possible, based on available space, whose itineraries have been disrupted. Those whose flights have been canceled may request a full refund or receive a flight credit, which does not expire. Information for Customers with lost baggage is here: https://www.southwest.com/help/baggage/lost-damaged-baggage … Customers can also speak with a representative at the baggage service office in an airport where we operate or contact Southwest customer service, though we are experiencing abnormally high call volumes.
The operational emergency you’re referencing are routine emergency sick procedures (enacted at our DEN operation) …when that occurs, it puts parameters in place—like requiring a doctor’s note when an Employee returns to work if they call in sick—so that we can ensure Reliability for our Customers by having the necessary amount of available, working staff.