Over the Christmas weekend, airlines canceled thousands of flights due to the arctic blast.
Many Rio Rancho residents who used Southwest Airlines for their travels said the company had horrible communication to its customers. The airline is in the midst of a multi-week “meltdown,” in which it has canceled a majority of its flights after the winter weather stopped flights initially.
Nicole Storm, a elementary school teacher in Rio Rancho, said she usually doesn’t have any problem with Southwest.
“But this time, I was waiting for hours to just get on the phone with someone. It was very odd,” Storm said.
She had a funeral to get to in another state.
“Luckily, they rescheduled because so many people were having travel issues,” she said.
Some Rio Rancho residents had to drive home from all over the country.
Bernagene Shay and her family had to celebrate Christmas three days late because of the flight cancellations.
“My kids sat for hours in San Diego and ended up driving to Las Cruces, where they had their rental car cancelled too,” Shay said.
Shay and her wife ended up driving to Las Cruces to pick them up.
They were able to celebrate Christmas on Dec. 27 as a family.
While most people had their faith in Southwest shaken, some were worried about people in need.
Amy Clithero and her husband are frequent flyers and were worried about those without the ability to adjust to cancellations easily.
“I am sad for the elderly who may not have the ability to make these arrangements quickly via technology, for parents traveling with babies as diapers are not sold in airports. Sad for those who can’t access their medications and may not have brought extra supplies – and if they don’t have insurance, that may be a huge expense; for those under 25 who can’t rent a car and for hourly workers who don’t get paid if they don’t show up and have now missed work,” Clithero told the Observer.
She also says she is both frustrated and grateful for their situation.
“We were able to afford car rental, a hotel, meals, work time, and extra parking expense at the Albuquerque airport. Some weren’t as lucky,” she said.
This isn’t the first time that weather has caused problems for airlines. But many claim that this round was much worse.
According to some pilots on social media, the company’s software is not updated and because of that, plane schedules were not available.
One anonymous crew member said, “Embarrassing is an understatement. Rumors on media are floating that there is a lack of crews and pilots are staging sick calls. Absolutely not true at all. This is a computer system meltdown. Thousands of crew members are sitting in hotels and airports with nowhere to go. This airline has failed miserably.”