KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Holiday travel plans have been ruined for millions of Americans.
Many of them in the Kansas City are left to find another way home, after Southwest Airlines cancels thousands of flights again on Tuesday.
The crowds at Union Station prove some passengers are trading their wings for rails. As Tuesday afternoon wore on, and Southwest Airlines continued to cancel flights, Union Station continued to fill up with passengers desperate for a trip home.
Many passengers who’d originally been booked on Southwest chose Amtrak instead, when their flights were canceled. Only nine Southwest Airlines flights departed Kansas City International on Tuesday.
“It’s highly aggravating,” Dave Luce, a St. Louis native, said.
Luce said he was due to fly home to St. Louis on Sunday after spending Christmas in Kansas City. However, he’s seen two flights canceled, and a train trip seemed like the best solution.
“I get the weather part of it, but it seems like Southwest wasn’t really prepared for it. It’s hard to imagine this level of disorganization resulted from a couple of bad days of weather,” Luce said on Tuesday.
Southwest Airlines blames the recent cold weather snap for the numerous flight delays and cancellations, and the company’s technical infrastructure couldn’t keep up. Southwest CEO Bob Jordan called this massive interruption in service “unacceptable.”
On Tuesday evening, Terminal B at KCI was crowded with hopeful travelers including Nancy Thompson, who hails from Atlanta.
Due to numerous delays on Tuesday, she was faced with a return to Georgia after midnight, if she managed to depart Kansas City at all.
“I have to get home. I have surgery scheduled on the 30th,” Thompson said. “I’m really afraid they’re going to just cancel it. We see that in San Diego, where my flight is coming from, it keeps getting delayed and delayed and delayed. I keep getting my messages that say you’re delayed, delayed, delayed.”
Aside from planes and trains, automobiles are questionable too, Many Amtrak passengers commented they’d been unable to find rental cars locally, since the demand is high.
Southwest’s website has a section that mentions some travel expenses may be reimbursable from the air carrier.