DENVER — A ruined honeymoon. A missed birthday. A ski journey hanging within the steadiness.
Southwest Airways’ meltdown continued Tuesday, with greater than 60% of all flights canceled, the second day in a row of mass cancellations at Denver Worldwide Airport.
An estimated 1,000 folks slept in a single day on the airport Monday, clutching complimentary blankets and water bottles distributed by airport employees attempting to assist Southwest passengers cope, mentioned airport spokeswoman Alex Renteria.
As of Monday night time, there have been about 10,000 baggage ready to be processed by the airways, she mentioned.
On the Southwest baggage declare on Tuesday, Christmas music performed as 1000’s of individuals struggled to find out choices, winding their approach via rows of suitcases, little one automobile seats and ski gear.
At one level, a Southwest customer support agent made an announcement to folks looking for their baggage: “Simply go house. They’ll come again finally, I promise you.”
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Ryan Williams and his spouse, Kassie Novakovich, bought up at 3 a.m. Tuesday, hopeful their long-awaited honeymoon journey to Cozumel, Mexico, would occur. However regardless of being instructed it was on schedule all morning, Southwest canceled the flight about two hours after they had been presupposed to have left.
The 2 returned to baggage declare, ready in a two-hour line to file a report on their baggage, which probably went to Houston.
“I now don’t have any underwear,” Williams mentioned. “All of my underwear is in my bag.”
After ready in line to register their lacking baggage, Williams and Novakovich mentioned they deliberate to go house. They’d appeared up different flights on United to close by Cancun — $2,000 for one individual, a technique.
They headed house, honeymoon plans ruined. Southwest instructed them it’d take 30 days for his or her baggage to return, Novakovich mentioned.
“We simply need our baggage,” she mentioned.
As of Tuesday, the Denver airport had probably the most cancellations throughout all airways of any U.S. airport, in line with flight-tracking service FlightAware. In the meantime, Southwest nationally had canceled about 2,500 flights Tuesday, with one other 2,500 canceled Wednesday.
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Lindsey Kirkland, 28, was presupposed to fly to Nevada from Denver on Tuesday morning for a buddy’s birthday ski journey. She took a $100 Uber to DIA and was instructed her Southwest flight was canceled as a result of no flight attendants had been obtainable.
“I simply don’t perceive why it’s nonetheless taking place. It doesn’t make sense,” she mentioned.
Kirkland flew house to Denver from Nashville on Monday and mentioned on that flight brokers had been providing folks as much as $1,300 to delay their journey: “They’d introduced the wrong-sized airplane and so they needed to folks to get off.”
Kirkland concluded Tuesday that her luck had run out — after her profitable flight house Monday, she figured issues is likely to be getting again on observe. However when she bought to the gate Tuesday morning, Southwest canceled her flight and instructed everybody to go house. Kirkland then waited two hours to file a report on her baggage.
“Yesterday I assumed I used to be the luckiest individual alive. I suppose they’ll FedEx my baggage to me,” she mentioned. “No ETA.”
Tom Barham and his two sons arrived in Denver from Atlanta on Tuesday morning, however their baggage loaded with ski gear did not make the flight, most likely as a result of curbside bag drop took two hours, he mentioned.
After ready in line for greater than two hours, Barham mentioned Southwest instructed him their baggage ought to arrive later within the day, inexplicably from Houston.
“We now have hope,” mentioned Barham, 59.
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A fortunate few had clean journey experiences.
Crystal Griffin, 57, took her daughter to Los Angeles for Christmas to go to household and flew again Tuesday mid-morning. Though their Southwest flight was delayed about 45 minutes, she mentioned issues in any other case went easily.
However as she waited for his or her checked baggage to reach on the carousel, she was reserving closing judgement, she mentioned with amusing.
“Some folks have been caught in airports since Sunday, so I’m grateful,” mentioned Griffin, a faculty vitamin employee.
Just a few ft away, Mariah Burke, 28, rolled her household’s suitcases as much as her husband, Kevin, and their canine Willow.
“It is a Christmas miracle,” she proclaimed, after their Southwest flight from Phoenix arrived with no hitch. “I imply, take a look at this nightmare.”
Apart from the Southwest meltdown, DIA was in any other case working easily Tuesday, Renteria mentioned. The airport had labored with its restaurant tenants to increase hours to serve individuals who remained at their gates in a single day, and vacationers got blankets and bottles.
The airport usually sees about 76,000 passengers move via its TSA checkpoints each day. Southwest is its second-biggest provider, behind United.
“We perceive that that is such a irritating scenario,” Renteria instructed USA TODAY. “It’s actually vital that folks give others grace and endurance as a result of it’s affecting everybody.”