KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Thousands of passengers nationwide are scrambling as Southwest Airlines continues to cancel flights for the third day in a row.
The number of cancelations has dropped a bit Monday, with over 300 canceled and over 200 delayed. The Dallas-based airline canceled more than 1,000 on Sunday alone.
These three days of canceled and delayed flights have led to headaches across the country and at Kansas City International Airport.
“For two and a half hours, I sat on hold waiting to talk to somebody,” Precious Owens said, “and the best she could do was to get me home tomorrow.”
Owens said that won’t do. They’ve got work, school and kids waiting at home.
Southwest Airlines said weather and air traffic control issues were to blame for the 1,800 flight cancellations so far. But the FAA responded saying there were no air traffic control issues.
Another report said Southwest pilots were protesting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate where employees must prove their vaccination status or be fired. But Southwest and the pilots’ union has denied a “sick-out” and declared it will restore a full schedule as soon as possible.
On Sunday, Parker Fialkowski stood in a line of hundreds of people at Love Field Airport in Dallas. All of their flights were canceled.
“The flight was canceled on Southwest,” Fialkowski’s dad said. “So I booked him a flight on American Airlines out of DFW.”
Fialkowski spend an extra $100 to Uber to a different airport and $500 more on the new plane ticket.
Southwest did offer him a Tuesday flight to Kansas City, but he was coming in town for Sunday’s Kansas City Chiefs game.
“I want to get home,” Fialkowski’s dad said, “and it’s raining and it’s cold and the Chiefs lost. It’s frustrating.”
“We have to blame the Chiefs,” Bills fan Angela Thomlinson said. “They’re keeping us hostage because we won.”
Michael Laib had an issue getting from Phoenix to Kansas City, as well. He said this isn’t the first time his Southwest flight has been canceled.
“It was a disaster,” Laib said.
They ended up booking a flight to Wichita and renting a car to Kansas City.
“A very expensive $450 bill that I should share with Southwest Airlines,” Laib said.
If there is one silver lining, travelers told FOX4 that Southwest is paying for their hotel stay and giving them flight vouchers for the trouble.
Southwest sent the following statement to FOX4:
“Southwest Airlines extends a tremendous apology to our Customers and Employees for the flight cancellations and delays which occurred over the weekend and on Monday.
“On Friday evening, the airline ended the day with numerous cancellations, primarily created by weather and other external constraints, which left aircraft and Crews out of pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday. Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and continued strain on our Crew resources created additional cancelations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday.
“While we do not have specific airport numbers to share, Southwest Teams have been working diligently to restore stability to the network, and we are experiencing less disruptions on Monday. We hope to restore our full schedule as soon as possible. As a note, the operational challenges were not a result of Southwest Employee demonstrations, as some outlets are reporting.
“To every Customer that experienced a cancellation or delay, Southwest offers our sincerest regret regarding disrupted travel plans, and we look forward to a future opportunity to demonstrate our safe, reliable, friendly, and legendary Southwest Hospitality – something that Customers should always expect from Southwest Airlines.
“If Customers require assistance from Southwest, they can utilize one of the airline’s self-service options for convenience or Contact Us via one of the methods listed on Southwest.com.”