GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Thousands are stranded at airports and those flying Southwest Airlines are getting the worst of the chaos.
Southwest is working at one-third of its schedule to compensate.
“4 or 5 cancellations just trying to leave the united states to even go internationally,” Clunie says.
Former Mayor of Greenville Alan Thomas was at RDU airport when his Birmingham Bowl travel plans were turned upside down.
“We had a 5:15 am flight that was booked this morning with southwest airlines and low and behold, with flight aware, flight canceled.” Thankfully, Thomas and his family were able to still travel to the bowl game. “The change was made, and you adapt and overcome. We went and got a rental car and here we are, we’re on the road somewhere in South Carolina right now, making our way down to Birmingham to support the Pirates,” said Thomas.
At least 617 flights were delayed and 2,584 Southwest Airlines flights were canceled.
“The storm that hit last week was the catalyst to this but what went wrong is that our it infrastructure for our scheduling software is vastly outdated and cannot handle the number of pilots and flight attendants that we have in the system with our complex route network,” said Southwest Airline pilot, Captain Michael Santoro.
Due to the complicated travel changes, Thomas says, “It will make me think twice next time in terms of what airlines I’ll be taking a look at and being able to count on to be able to make a same-day trip somewhere to something that’s very important.”
The US Department of Transportation is set to investigate the massive cancellations and flight attendant unions are calling for Southwest to modernize its operations.
Southwest’s canceled flights were ten times higher than those of Delta Airlines. The company plans to operate at a cap of 1,500 flights a day until the backlog is back in order.