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Southwest customers experience cancellations, stranded or displaced for days

Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 11, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Many Southwest Airlines passengers woke up over the weekend ready to catch a flight, but instead found out either before they left or at the airport, their flight was canceled.

Thousands of Americans were out of luck this weekend when it comes to their flights on Southwest Airlines. Passengers, scrambling at the last second trying to find other accommodations.

Nicole Mosca says after several delays, she was happy to be on the runway, when her flight turned around.

“We were told there was an issue with a button and we needed to get off,” she said. “Then we were told the pilots timed out and we needed a new crew.”

When she de-planed she says all the flights were canceled and off the apps. Everything was canceled. From there, the tired traveler says she had to compete with hundreds of other passengers in her position for a rental car, a hotel, and her bags were also lost.

“We had to buy clothes from Target and have them delivered to our hotel,” she said.

It was a similar situation for the Simmons family of Buffalo. Theresa Simmons and her husband were heading to their anniversary cruise in Florida. The pair made it to Baltimore when Southwest canceled their flight.

“No crews, no flight to Florida, and I think they said it was too late to rent a car to drive.”

Simmons and her husband missed their cruise, and say Southwest couldn’t even get them back to Buffalo.

“And they lost our luggage,” she said.

There’s been widespread speculation as to what caused the delays and cancellations. Southwest Airlines says it was weather and Air Traffic Control issues.

The cancellations came a day after the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Texas attempting to block the company-wide vaccine mandate.

But both Southwest and the Southwest Pilots Association say it wasn’t because of a strike.

The pilots association representative says “I can say with certainty that there are no work slowdowns or sickouts either related to the recent mandatory vaccine mandate or otherwise.”

“Delta took off, Spirit took off, United took off,” said Mosca. “It wasn’t weather and an act of God.”

Southwest Airlines responded to our request for comment today saying, “To recap the weekend cancellations, the bad weather and ATC issues in Florida, a large operation for us, on Friday night created significant flight disruptions throughout our network and we spent the weekend working to recover from the high number of displaced crews, aircraft, and customers.”

Southwest says Monday’s flights are somewhat back to normal.

Customers say they haven’t been able to get through to Southwest to ask about compensation, and Southwest did not respond to our request on this question.

“Their customers deserve something,” Mosca said.

AAA says in this unique situation, customers should check the fine print on the airline’s contract information regarding cancellations and refund. They say when in doubt, it’s always good to purchase travelers insurance ahead of any flight.