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Southwest Airlines disruption leaves customers stranded, call centers swamped



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(CNN) — Final week’s winter climate journey mess is lingering like a hangover into this week — and the complications are migraine-proportioned for Southwest Airways and its annoyed passengers on Monday.

Greater than 3,600 flights inside, into or out of the US had already been canceled by 4:10 p.m. ET Monday, in response to flight monitoring web site FlightAware, whereas virtually 5,800 flights had been delayed.

However Southwest accounts for a whopping share of these. Not one of the different US carriers have canceled almost as many flights or as a lot of their schedule as Southwest.

The Dallas-based airline had canceled roughly two-thirds of its flights — about 2,700 complete — as of 4:10 p.m. Monday, in response to FlightAware. At one level, it canceled round 300 flights within the span of a half hour Monday afternoon.

On social media, prospects are complaining loudly about lengthy strains to talk with representatives, issues with misplaced baggage and extreme wait occasions or busy alerts on the airline’s customer support phone strains.

Customers wait to rebook their Southwest Airlines flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Monday.

Clients wait to rebook their Southwest Airways flight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport on Monday.


CNN’s Carlos Suarez has been talking with annoyed passengers in line on the Southwest ticket counter at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport.

He is reporting that about 150 prospects are ready in an extended line to rebook, with the road snaking across the again of the ticket counter.

‘Disruptions throughout our community’

In a press release to CNN, Southwest Airways mentioned it’s “experiencing disruptions throughout our community on account of (the winter storm’s) lingering results on the totality of our operation.”

Among the airports seeing the largest concern are Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago Halfway, Baltimore/Washington, and Dallas Love Discipline the place Southwest operates.

Calls to Southwest’s customer support tried Monday afternoon by CNN didn’t undergo, so prospects could not even get within the queue to talk to a consultant. Southwest advised CNN it’s “absolutely staffed to reply calls.”

Customers encountered long lines at Southwest counters on Monday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Clients encountered lengthy strains at Southwest counters on Monday at Raleigh-Durham Worldwide Airport.


The airline additionally says, “these whose flights have been canceled might request a full refund or obtain a flight credit score, which doesn’t expire.”

In the meantime, in hard-hit western New York, Buffalo Worldwide Airport mentioned in its most up-to-date tweet that it plans to renew passenger flights at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday.

The temperature on the airport was 19 levels Fahrenheit (minus 7 Celsius) round 4 p.m. ET, with gentle snow falling on high of the massive quantities the realm has already seen.

What can stranded passengers do?

In case you’ve been left within the lurch and your efforts to succeed in a customer support agent are going nowhere, the founding father of Scott’s Cheap Flights suggests making an attempt a world quantity.

“The primary hotline for US airways will probably be clogged with different passengers getting rebooked. To get by to an agent rapidly, name any one of many airline’s dozens of worldwide places of work” Scott Keyes mentioned.

“Brokers can deal with your reservation similar to US-based ones can, however there’s just about no wait to get by.”

Any reduction in sight?

It might be subsequent week earlier than that is all utterly sorted out.

“When there’s greater than 10,000 flight cancellations over the previous week, it takes time for airways to work by and reaccommodate the backlog of vacationers,” Keyes advised CNN Journey in an e-mail.

“Whereas it would depend upon the climate forecast (which appears promising for a lot of the nation) and what variety of vacationers wind up canceling their vacation plans, I might anticipate that by subsequent week, issues may have largely returned to regular,” Keyes mentioned.

And why are so many individuals having bother rebooking?

“One complicating issue for folks hoping to get reaccommodated is the truth that there are so few out there seats this season,” Keyes mentioned.

“That is each as a result of Christmas and New 12 months is among the hottest occasions of 12 months for journey, and since the variety of flights on the schedule this 12 months remains to be down 15-20%, making the problem even steeper for these needing to get rebooked.”

Unhealthy street situations

Street journey remained treacherous in components of the US due to excessive wintry situations.

In New York state’s western Erie County, emergency restrictions on driving have been lifted in some communities however remained in place in Buffalo, County Govt Mark Poloncarz mentioned Monday.

“The Metropolis of Buffalo is impassable in most areas, whereas mains might have a lane open for emergency visitors or two, most secondaries in addition to aspect streets haven’t been touched but,” Poloncarz mentioned.

He including that the cleared primary roads are primarily for using life-saving measures to open up areas round hospitals and nursing houses.

A tough previous week

A winter storm that swept throughout the US was ill-timed for vacationers who had began pushing Christmas week flying numbers again towards pre-pandemic ranges.

On Christmas Day, there have been 3,178 flights canceled and 6,870 flight delayed, in response to FlightAware.

On Christmas Eve, there have been a complete of three,487 flights canceled, in response to FlightAware.

Friday was the worst day of this streak with 5,934 cancellations, whereas Thursday noticed virtually 2,700 cancellations.

This megablast of winter climate throughout the jap two-thirds of the nation is forecast to slowly reasonable this week.

Extra developments to return on this breaking information story.

CNN’s Ross Levitt, Chris Boyette and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this story.