مشاركات عشوائية

Southwest Airlines collapse affects, stranding passengers

featured image

Thousands of Southwest Airlines travelers were stranded at airports across the country on Tuesday morning as fallout from a powerful winter storm that battered much of the country continued to ground hundreds of flights and disrupt construction plans. passenger journey.

Airlines canceled more than 2,800 flights Tuesday morning, the majority of them – 2,526 flights – with Southwest Airlines, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

In California, hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled through the end of the week, making up a big chunk of the Southwest’s schedule.

Passengers sat on the sidewalk at Los Angeles International Airport and dozens of flyers lined up at the rental car counter at Hollywood Burbank Airport, with nearly 100 more waiting inside and outside outside the establishment.

Southwest chief executive Bob Jordan told the Wall Street Journal the airline plans to operate at about a third of its regular capacity as it tries to regroup and get the schedule back on track.

“This is the most important event I have ever seen” he said.

All flights indicated as unavailable on the company’s website on Tuesday morning. In an email, Southwest spokesman Chris Perry said inventory to book travel is “very low” but flights are still operating.

As of 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, at least 60 flights from Los Angeles International Airport were canceled and at least 55 were delayed.

Andy Robinson stood in line at the Southwest Terminal for a hotel voucher after his return flight to Denver was canceled. Robinson, who was in Los Angeles with his family to watch the Denver Broncos play the Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Christmas Day, managed to catch a flight home Thursday, but is being hustled by cancellations and other delays.

“I try to see it in a positive way. I’m in California,” said Robinson, whose relative suggested they go to Denver. “I’m in flip flops.”

Elsewhere in Southern California, 18 outbound flights from the Southwest – or two-thirds of its services – were canceled at Hollywood Burbank Airport on Tuesday, according to mobile flight tracker Flightview. Orange County’s John Wayne Airport canceled 51 southwestbound flights and seven were delayed Tuesday morning, while San Diego saw some of the biggest disruptions, with 89 southwestbound flights canceled and 28 retarded. according to FlightAware.

Despite paying $60 for an early check-in, Roger and Jane Truesdale were among hundreds of passengers in Burbank on Tuesday whose flights were canceled and told the earliest they could depart was Saturday.

But the couple from Estes Park, Colorado, in town to visit their son over the holidays, didn’t pack enough medicine for the whole week. They were looking at other airlines, they said, noting that renting a car or taking a bus was not an option.

“It’s not ideal,” said Roger Truesdale, 77, “but we have to go home and hopefully we find a good replacement.”

A dashboard shows canceled flights at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX.

A dashboard shows canceled flights at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX.

(Eugene Garcia/Associated Press)

Southwest Airlines blamed a catastrophic winter storm that swept through the northern half of the country over the weekend for the cancellations, adding in a statement that “our sincere apologies for this have only just begun.” … We acknowledge having failed and we sincerely apologize.

Sense. Senate Commerce Committee members Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Southwest shouldn’t be able to claim flight cancellations were caused by recent winter storms, which which would allow them to avoid reimbursing travellers. . .

The compensation should not only include booked flights, refunds, hotel, meals and transportation, but also “significant monetary compensation for disruption to their vacation plans,” the two senators said in a statement.

Southwest’s collapse reached the Oval Office, with President Biden tweeting that airlines would be held accountable and directing injured travelers to the Department of Transportation’s website to see if they are entitled to compensation.

“Our administration is working to ensure airlines are held accountable,” Biden tweeted Tuesday.

The US Department of Transportation also said it was concerned about the “unacceptable” rate of cancellations and would investigate whether the cancellations were controllable.

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said Tuesday that the committee would examine the causes of the disruptions and their impact on consumers.

“Southwest Airlines’ problems over the past few days go beyond the weather,” Cantwell said in a statement. Many airlines do not properly communicate with consumers during flight cancellations. Consumers deserve strong protections, including an updated consumer refund rule. »

After driving five hours from Oakland to Los Angeles on Monday after her flight was canceled, Kate Schelter waited in line for hours at LAX’s Southwest Terminal on Tuesday morning to try to get a refund and collect luggage from his family. Her luggage was airlifted to Los Angeles even though she and her children, aged 9 and 12, were unable to fly.

But Schelter reversed a refund: A Southwest Airlines ticket agent said he couldn’t help and offered travel vouchers instead. “I’m going to go ahead with my vacation now and probably spend hours on the phone with customer service trying to get this straightened out,” Schelter said.

Angry and suspicious travelers flooded in the southwest on Twitter with reports of wait in long lines which extended outside the terminals, missing baggage only in some cases has traveled despite canceled flights or piled up unclaimed for days, waiting on customer service calls for hours or being disconnected repeatedlyand trying to browse a glitchy website.

Some passengers said they did not receive an email or text message about their flight status, and instead learned through an in-app review from the airline, Flight Aware, or family and friends.

Maria Valenciano Ramos and her husband, Geronima Ramos Jr., had hoped to visit their daughter in Nashville this week, but their Southwest Airlines flight on Monday was canceled, they said. They spent three hours on hold with customer service – only to have their booked flight cancelled.

They drove to the southwest terminal of the airport on Tuesday morning in desperation and eventually booked their trip for January. 1, the earliest available flight, with no fixed return date. Other airlines operating a similar route were charging up to $1,600 more per ticket, Geronima Ramos Jr. said.

“It changed our whole schedule, our whole holidays,” Valenciano Ramos said.

Newly elected Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath found herself stranded in Las Vegas after her return flight to Los Angeles in the Southwest was canceled. she said on Twitter Monday evening.

Because of @SouthwestAir my only chance of getting home is to spend $400+ one way on another airline and arrive [Tuesday] afternoon (and cancel vet appointments and work meetings). UN. real. Who can afford it? Not working families or young people who come home once a year for the holidays,” Horvath said in a tweet.

Many also questioned the airline’s claim that the weather was the culprit, point out that other airlines were operating with less disruption and that part of the problem could be a staffing issue.

The Dallas-based airline said it was “full and prepared” for the holiday weekend, but “operational conditions” caused by inclement weather sweeping across most of the country “have forced changes daily to our flight schedule at a volume and scale that still has the tools our teams use to restore the airline to full capacity.

The crippling winter storm hit two of the Southwest’s biggest hubs, Chicago and Denver, particularly hard.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday afternoon it wasconcerned about Southwest’s unacceptable rate cancellations and delays”, as well as reports of a “lack of prompt customer service”.

“The department will review whether the cancellations were controllable and whether Southwest is following its customer service plan,” the agency said in a tweet.

Times staff writers Sarah Wire and Courtney Subramanian contributed to this report.

Post a Comment