WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — Southwest Airlines is facing “wide-scale disruption” following the holiday weekend, forcing cancellations and delays around the country, including Bradley International Airport.
“We’ve been chasing our tails, trying to catch up and get back to normal safely, which is our number one priority,’’ said Southwest spokesman Jay McVay.
Southwest canceled more than 70% of its flights Monday, and more than 60% on Tuesday as the airline warned that it would operate just over a third of its usual schedule in the coming days.
At Bradley International Airport, 12 departing and 11 arriving flights had been canceled, as of about 4:30 p.m. Of those, 19 were Southwest Airlines flights that were impacted due to “system-wide flight disruptions,” according to an apartment spokesperson, who deferred further comment to Southwest Airlines.
At the airport, travelers’ frustrations were mounting.
“I don’t understand these airlines, how they’re not accountable for the things that they do,” said Roland Carter, from Georgia. “And we’re at their mercy.”
Of the approximately 2,950 flight cancellations in the U.S. by noon on Tuesday, 2,549 were called off by Southwest.
The flight-tracking website FlightAware.com reported that there were 23 cancellations at Bradley on Tuesday, with most of them Southwest flights.
“With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our customers and employees in a significant way that is unacceptable,” the airline said in a statement.
Southwest said it plans on “rebalancing the airline and repositioning crews” to ensure the safety of travelers and the reliability of their flights.
The federal Department of Transportation said on Twitter that it was “concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer services. The department said it was looking into whether Southwest could have avoided the cancellations and how customers have been treated.
Charles Miller, from California, was supposed to fly to Denver on Wednesday to visit his brother. After Southwest canceled his flight, he’d driven, instead.
“I was trying to call, couldn’t get through all day,” he said. “So, I finally decided to just come to the airport, and they were able to help me, actually. I was able to get a boarding pass for Baltimore, so I’m going to drive to Baltimore tomorrow morning to get a flight to Denver.”
Some Southwest passengers are calling themselves lucky — their flights are being delayed by a few hours,, not canceled altogether.
“We just got flashed another delay as we were pulling into the airport, so now it’s delayed to 8 to 9 p.m. departure,” said Lyle Fisel, of Indiana. “Hopefully, we get out of here.”
Reporting from the Associated Press was included in this story.