NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Chaos continues at airports across the country as thousands of flights continue getting canceled. The majority of cancellations are coming from Southwest Airlines, and now, the government is investigating why.
At Nashville International Airport, many passengers were left stranded as hundreds of bags were stacked outside of Southwest carousels from canceled flights.
“This is chaos,” Kevin Hall told News 2.
It’s Hall’s first visit to Music City, but this wasn’t a planned trip. However, it’s ultimately where he spent this Christmas after his connecting flight was canceled.
“We’ve been here since Saturday afternoon. I did get a hotel last night — went, slept, came back. They are still holding our bags hostage is what I’ll call it and for two nights we were hostage in the airport with no food. Only thing you had were some water fountains and you had facilities to go use the bathroom, but that’s it,” Hall explained.
It’s lost luggage, long lines and no end in sight for many who planned to travel Southwest.
“Everything listed on time and literally until we checked in at the kiosk everything was on time for the flight and would get us there hours before we needed to be at the port, and when we checked in it was delayed, and then it was delayed again,” said John Apple.
He and his wife now missing out on their 35th-anniversary cruise to the Caribbean, instead looking to rent a car and drive home to Chicago.
“You know that chaos that comes after a crazy day? You’re going, ‘I think the best thing to do is go home sit in my own living room and watch TV'” added Hall.
Numerous travelers told News 2 they were unable to reach Southwest customer service on the phone and unable to find flights before this upcoming Saturday unless booked with another airline where prices had more than doubled.
“Yesterday tickets were $400 and today that same ticket was $1,400 on another airline,” said Diane Atwood whose flight has been delayed two days in a row.
Southwest canceled more than 60% of their flights Tuesday, while other airlines have made it past the storm with cancelation rates at 2% or below.
Southwest officials say they are urgently addressing wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning crews and fleet, while planning a reduced schedule by flying around 1/3 of their operations for the next several days.
“Every time you would have to wait in a two to three-hour-long line to get up to a counter to try and rebook or whatever. I mean, they are giving out free vouchers left and right at this point. I mean, like candy, a hard piece of Christmas candy,” said Hall who went on to say that his Apple AirTag shows his bags are at BNA despite officials saying bags had gone on to their final destination.
Southwest has implemented a site where customers can rebook or request a refund. There, they can also submit reimbursements for additional expenses like hotels and rental cars.