One Southwest passenger, Bri Sheer, said she tried several times over the weekend to get a flight back home to Texas.
Her original plan was to fly out on Friday. As of Saturday night, Sheer had a number of flights booked and then canceled, leaving her with one last option to make it home.
“I didn’t get notified on my phone,” Sheer said. “I looked on my app and it looked normal at the time.”
Like many other travelers, Sheer had her holiday trip booked and got updates on her phone.
“It just showed that it was delayed and so I was like, OK no problem,” Sheer said.
“Someone else came up to me and was like, ‘are you on this flight?’ I said, yes. She said, ‘well you might want to check your app because that screen is wrong,'” said Sheer.
That, she said, has been her experience throughout the holiday weekend: mixed messages.
“We all checked our apps and they all started getting canceled one by one,” Sheer said. “But the screens were saying just delayed.”
As it became evident her trip home was in doubt, Sheer and others made their way to customer service counters.
“There were probably 20 to 50 people in line for every kiosk,” Sheer said.
For their part, Southwest Airlines released a statement describing what it calls an “operational emergency.” It alludes to the number of available staff working the busy travel weekend.
Unfortunately for travelers like Sheer, this has delayed or even canceled their plans to be home.
“So, probably the first Christmas that I miss which is sad to say, and I thought about driving home,” said Sheer.
The frustration was compounded for her because of her attempts to re-book another flight, getting on a flight, and then having that trip canceled.
“I get it, it’s chaotic. Everyone wants to see their family, everybody wants to travel for the holidays,” Sheer said. “Just kind of a little bit of a letdown to have hope and then no hope.”
Southwest has replied on social media to multiple messages about conflicting information from other travelers who’ve had their own trips canceled.