Relief is still days away for passengers who made reservations at Southwest Airlines this week, as the embattled airline continues to struggle after US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg described the system as completely broken.
As of 3:15 a.m. ET, of the 2,714 flights already booked for Wednesday flights in or out of the United States, 2,504 were operated by Southwest, according to the flight tracking website. FlightAware. Meanwhile, the airline has already canceled another 2,356 flights on Thursday, the website showed.
The airports canceled Wednesday were Denver International, followed by Chicago Midway International, Baltimore/Washington International, Dallas Love Field, Nashville International, Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and Phoenix Sky Harbor International.
Buttigieg says he spoke directly to Southwest CEO Bob Jordan on Tuesday about the thousands of canceled flights this week, with no immediate indication of when passengers will be able to rebook.
“Their system has literally completely melted down,” Buttigieg told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.
“I made it clear to customers that our department needs to hold them accountable for their responsibilities to get them out of this situation and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Southwest canceled two-thirds of its flights. See how passengers are doing
According to FlightAware, 3,200 flights to, within or out of the United States were canceled on Tuesday.
Of those canceled flights, about 2,693 were Southwest flights — 84% of all canceled flights in the United States.
Passengers at Southwest ticket counters at several U.S. airports on Tuesday saw long lines trying to rebook or connect, while large piles of unclaimed bags continued to grow as passengers struggled to retrieve their luggage at airports including Chicago’s Midway International, Harry Reid in Los Angeles. Vegas in Houston and William B. Hobby Airport.
Passenger Trisha Jones told CNN at the airport in Atlanta that she and her partner had been traveling for five days and were trying to get home to Wichita, Kansas, after getting off a ship in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
After his flight was canceled, he stayed with relatives and was later sent back to Atlanta to catch a connecting flight.
“We were lucky because we were in Fort Lauderdale — my family lives in the Tampa Bay area, so we rented a car to visit my family for Christmas,” Jones said. “We’ve seen so many families sleeping on the floor, it breaks my heart.”
Southwest blamed a number of factors for the travel disaster, including winter storm delays, aggressive flight scheduling and outdated infrastructure.
“All I can say is that Southwest can’t even find where their own employees are, let alone their own passengers, let alone their baggage,” Buttigieg said, adding that he also spoke with airline leaders representing flight attendants and pilots.
The secretary said the CEO told Jordan that he expected Southwest to provide advance refunds and expense reimbursements to affected passengers without them asking.
“I conveyed to the CEO our expectation that they go above and beyond to take care of passengers and address this,” he said.
Buttigieg told CNN that the Department of Transportation is prepared to issue fines against Southwest if there is evidence that the company failed to meet its legal obligations, but he said the department will closely monitor persistent customer service issues at the airline.
“All the rest of the aviation system is moving toward recovery and improving every day, and it’s actually moving in the opposite direction with this airline,” Buttigieg said.
“You’ve got a company here that needs a lot of cleaning up,” he said.
Jordan apologized to passengers and staff Video report The company made the announcement on Tuesday evening.
“We’re doing everything we can to get back to a normal operation, and please hear that I’m truly sorry,” Jordan said.
Although Jordan acknowledged the problems with the company’s response, the statement suggested that he did not expect massive changes to Southwest’s procedures in response to the mass cancellations.
“The tools we use to recover from disruptions serve us well 99% of the time, but we need to double down on existing programs to improve systems for these extreme situations so that we never have to face what’s happening now again,” said Jordan.
“We’re confident we’ll be back on track before next week.”
Flight delayed or cancelled? A travel expert shares his tips
Southwest has warned that this week’s cancellations and delays will continue for several more days.
So what should customers do?
“First things first, passengers still waiting on Southwest and needing somewhere to go should try to book a flight on another airline as soon as possible … right now, in fact,” said Kyle Potter, managing editor of the travel advice website. frugal traveller, In an email to CNN Travel on Tuesday afternoon.
“Every airline in the country is jam-packed right now, so your chances of finding a seat — let alone a half-decent price — get slimmer within the hour,” Potter said.
“The thick of it is travelers should save all their receipts: other flights, a rental car, hotel nights, meals, anything,” Potter said.
If you are left confused, your efforts to reach a customer service agent will go nowhere, Founder Scott’s Cheap Flights Recommend to try international number.
“The main hotline for US airlines will be clogged as other passengers are rebooked. To quickly reach an agent, call any of the airline’s dozens of international offices,” said Scott Keyes.
“Agents can handle your booking just like the US-based ones, but there’s practically no need to wait for it to be processed.”
Click here To get the international numbers that Southwest posted earlier.
Video: Canceled flight leads to viral road trip
– Source: CNN
Southwest spokesman Jay McVay said Monday night that Houston’s William B. At a press conference at Hobby Airport, the airline said, “The airline will do everything possible to fix the challenges passengers are experiencing, including hotels, ride assistance, vans … rental cars. Everyone go home as soon as possible.”
He assured that all customers, even those who had already left the airport or made their own alternative arrangements, would be taken care of.
“If you’ve already left, take care of yourself, do what you need to do for your family, keep your receipts,” McVay said. “We’ll make sure they’re taken care of, that’s not a question.”
Capt. Mike Santoro, vice president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, told CNN on Tuesday. Problems facing the South West It was the worst disruption he had experienced in 16 years at the airline.
He described last week’s storm as helping to trigger major technical issues.
“What’s wrong is that our IT infrastructure for programming software is very outdated,” he said. “With our complex route network, it cannot handle the number of pilots, flight attendants in the system.
“We don’t have the normal hub that other major airlines have. We fly a point-to-point network that can put our crews in the wrong places without planes.
He added: “This is frustrating for pilots, flight attendants and especially our passengers. We are tired of apologizing for Southwest, the pilots at the airline, and our hearts go out to all passengers, they really do.