Southwest Airlines is still dealing with a crisis that has left thousands of passengers stranded across the country on Tuesday.
Tuesday was expected to be Midway Airport’s busiest day of the holiday travel season. Southwest has instead canceled thousands of flights.
It is deemed unacceptable by the US Department of Transportation.
Many people flying into and out of Midway Airport have been frustrated by the cancellations.
People are checking in for Southwest Airlines flights in the hopes of returning home.
Southwest canceled 60% of its flights across the country on Tuesday. On Monday, 70% of flights were canceled.
Luggage kept piling up at Midway’s baggage claim, where hundreds of bags form a sea of luggage as far as the eye could see. However, few are available to retrieve them. Bags have been flying for days without their owners.
“I guess I should have just brought a backpack because the flight was canceled because there wasn’t enough help, not enough stewardesses to handle a full flight. Now we’re attempting to recover our luggage, but they say it’s on its way to the destination, Raleigh Durham, without us “According to John Ruh, whose flight was canceled.
“I departed from New Orleans two and a half days ago. Cancelled. Delayed. Cancelled. Delayed. Cancelled, “Carolyn Irving, who was looking for her bags, spoke up. “I’m hoping I can find my luggage because it contains medication. It contains gifts. But when you call, no one answers.”
Many people waited in line for more than five and a half hours to rebook canceled flights. The next available flight is often days away.
The Naperville Cormacks missed a cruise.
“I would just say I’m frustrated,” said Noelle Cormack. “How could you not see this coming? Or how could they have better prepared for it?”
“We now are going to have to pay for our hotel because you had to cancel that as of yesterday,” Kathie Cormack explained. “We can’t make that.”
The cancellations are the result of bad weather disrupting Southwest’s point-to-point network, which is unique among major airlines.
“Southwest’s problem is really is the system is out of kilter, and the snowstorm is moving, and they just haven’t been able to reset the operation,” said Joe Schwieterman, a DePaul University professor and aviation expert.
The Department of Transportation of the United States tweeted, “The USDOT is concerned about Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays, as well as reports of slow customer service. The Department will investigate whether the cancellations were preventable and whether Southwest is following its customer service plan.”
Casey Murray, a Southwest captain and union president, told ABC News that the situation was “catastrophic.”
“Southwest has been a failure at every level. Our pilots and front-line employees have worked tirelessly to get our passengers from point A to point B, but we were dealt a particularly bad hand when it comes to Southwest “Murray stated.
The flight attendant union issued a statement as well, saying, in part, “Southwest Airlines has once again failed its employees as a result of years of refusal to modernize operations, according to TWU Local 556, the union representing Southwest Airlines flight attendants. And it’s on Christmas this time.”
Southwest responded to the situation with a statement, writing in part, “With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, ongoing challenges are having an unacceptable impact on our Customers and Employees.
“And our heartfelt apologies are just getting started.
“We’re working with Safety at the forefront to urgently address wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning Crews and our fleet ultimately to best serve all who plan to travel with us.”
However, according to one industry expert, passengers today may be entitled to more.
According to a statement issued by the Chicago Department of Aviation, “The primary goal of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is to provide a safe, secure, and efficient environment for passengers and employees.
“Chicago’s airports support increased passenger volume during the holiday travel season, thanks to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and CDA Commissioner Jamie L.Rhee, CDA staff, and partners at the airlines and the FAA.
“Passengers should check flight status with their airline in advance of coming to the airports.”