Southwest Airlines has been the focus of national news coverage of the holiday travel nightmare that has just ended, for obvious reasons. It stranded passengers and has been repeatedly criticized by officials in President Joe Biden’s administration.
But stories of what went wrong at facilities around the country, including Denver International Airport where the problem persists (about 300 flights were canceled on Jan. 2, and at least 24 more flights were canceled by noon yesterday Jan. 3). was deep six)–as my family and I have learned through personal experience, it was more complicated than that.
Our Christmas celebrations were ruined thanks to a string of issues with another airline, and my return trip to Colorado in the Southwest actually went as planned. When I did, it was – ironic warning – almost half empty.
Here’s what happened:
A few months ago, my family — wife Deb, son Nick, his partner Justin, daughter Ellie, her girlfriend Nick N., and daughter Lola — arranged to get together in Southern California for Christmas. However, our departure dates varied. Ellie and Nick N. left a few days early to make stops in Phoenix and San Diego, while Nick and Justin had his December 23rd flight to Los Angeles on Delta. Meanwhile, Deb, Laura, and I were booked on a non-stop Delta flight to Los Angeles International Airport on December 24th. We had a pass for December 26th and 27th, so we were able to spend the next day together.
Or at least that’s what we thought.
Ellie and Nick N. had their own car and arrived in Fullerton on time. As for Nick and Justin, their Delta departure was moved up to December 22nd, the day a spectacular cold snap hit Denver, but they managed to get out of town despite a two-hour delay. However, Deb, Laura, and I were informed that our Christmas Eve flight had been cancelled.
Meanwhile, scramble training began. Finding an alternate route for United Airlines departing from Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Loot County, which serves Steamboat Springs, he was prepared to drive three hours to the scene. However, Delta refused to pay for rebooking with another airline. This was because the delay was probably weather related, even though adverse conditions were back east at that time and we weren’t close to where we wanted to go. I booked it on a Delta flight to Lake City, then with a short wait before catching another flight to Orange County.
However, a leg from Salt Lake to Orange County was also canceled that night, and the next flight to the area, specifically Long Beach, didn’t leave until late Christmas night, requiring a layover of about seven hours. , rebooked again and ended up spending most of the day at Salt Lake Airport. But at least we had a religious experience of sorts.An airline employee essentially robbed the bus that transported us to the terminal to tell us of his reincarnation experience. .
It was a rivet.
We arrived in Long Beach later that night and were able to spend a few minutes with my family. I returned earlier), and the airline was still suspending flights. Days after other carriers have returned to more or less normal operations.
Then, on Thursday morning, my worst fears came true. Deb checked the Southwest website and found that our flight was cancelled. In response, we arranged for an extra day in our rental car so we could drive back to Colorado, an 18 hour trek required due to a huge storm over the mountains. The car rental company, National, charged us his $300/day surcharge. If he doesn’t get back to Denver by 5 p.m. Saturday, he’ll get double that amount. About halfway through the trip, I paid for a hotel room in Gallup, New Mexico. But I expected Southwest to cover these costs.
Then came another twist. That evening I saw a newscast report that Southwest Airlines had finally wrapped up its work and would be back in service on Friday.When Deb checked the airline’s website again, our flights had resumed. She called the airline to confirm and after being on hold for just over 40 minutes, the operator said the flight was definitely scheduled. She guessed that the cancellation notice was some kind of error.
As early as Friday, Southwest’s website was still showing the flight. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was another way to get home.
If so, will Southwest reimburse the extra cost? Or will the airline refuse to do so because the flight did happen? We may never know, but those people I hope that you will belatedly experience the miracle of Christmas.