Southwest cancellations leave Sacramento travelers stranded

For each piece of luggage sitting unattended at the Sacramento International Airport baggage claim area Monday, for every car seat without a child in it, and for every duffle, suitcase, carryall and tote, there is a weary traveler with a story. Hundreds of canceled flights left thousands of travelers stranded or separated from their luggage and long lines of people at the airport trying to figure out what to do. “We had no idea until we got here last night that they canceled the flight,” Gene Pearlman of Las Vegas said. Pearlman, visiting the Sacramento area over the holiday weekend, came back to the airport to pick up his luggage that had been checked Sunday before he knew his flight was canceled. Other travelers also described their travel troubles. “It’s been an odyssey, ” Anabel Parisi said. She and her husband Bryan were just trying to get away to Las Vegas for a few days but found out their flight was canceled after arriving at the airport Sunday night. Back at the airport Monday morning for their rebooked flight, the couple was upset they didn’t receive communication from the airline about their second flight getting cancelled. They said they never imagined they’d run into these many snags. “Just the simple fact, because it was just to Vegas … we didn’t think we’d have to battle any conditions,” Bryan Parisi said. “We’re the lucky ones too because you know, we’re just doing this for our entertainment. We didn’t have to be anywhere pressing.”Many travelers took matters into their own hands – searching for flights on other airlines as they waited in a seemingly endless line at the Southwest ticket counter trying to rebook on their canceled flights.“I was on the phone last night at 2 am for like three hours and they just hung up after three hours,” said Joseph Armor who said he needed to head to the airport in person after not being able to get help changing his flight over the phone. Southwest told KCRA 3 it is dealing with “high call volumes” – something travelers told KCRA 3 they experienced firsthand. The airline indicated that it doesn’t have specific numbers on cancellations at airports it serves, including SMF but said a considerable portion of its published schedule is affected. A statement about widespread cancellations from Southwest reads, in part: “With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable,” the airline said in a statement. “With no concern higher than ultimate Safety, the People of Southwest share a goal to take care of each and every Customer. We recognize falling short and sincerely apologize.”It has been an experience travelers won’t soon forget as they ride out the perfect storm of ripple effects from weather-related delays and cancellations, coupled with flying at an already-busy time of year. “First time I traveled on a holiday,” Pearlman said. “It’ll be the last time I travel on the holiday.”

For each piece of luggage sitting unattended at the Sacramento International Airport baggage claim area Monday, for every car seat without a child in it, and for every duffle, suitcase, carryall and tote, there is a weary traveler with a story.

Hundreds of canceled flights left thousands of travelers stranded or separated from their luggage and long lines of people at the airport trying to figure out what to do.

“We had no idea until we got here last night that they canceled the flight,” Gene Pearlman of Las Vegas said.

Pearlman, visiting the Sacramento area over the holiday weekend, came back to the airport to pick up his luggage that had been checked Sunday before he knew his flight was cancelled.

Other travelers also described their travel troubles.

“It’s been an odyssey,” Anabel Parisi said.

She and her husband Bryan were just trying to get away to Las Vegas for a few days but found out their flight was canceled after arriving at the airport Sunday night.

Back at the airport Monday morning for their rebooked flight, the couple was upset they didn’t receive communication from the airline about their second flight getting cancelled.

They said they never imagined they’d run into these many snags.

“Just the simple fact, because it was just to Vegas … we didn’t think we’d have to battle any conditions,” Bryan Parisi said. “We’re the lucky ones too because you know, we’re just doing this for our entertainment. We didn’t have to be anywhere pressing.”

Many travelers took matters into their own hands – searching for flights on other airlines as they waited in a seemingly endless line at the Southwest ticket counter trying to rebook on their canceled flights.

“I was on the phone last night at 2 am for like three hours and they just hung up after three hours,” said Joseph Armor who said he needed to head to the airport in person after not being able to get help changing his flight over the phone.

Southwest told KCRA 3 it is dealing with “high call volumes” – something travelers told KCRA 3 they experienced firsthand.

The airline indicated that it doesn’t have specific numbers on cancellations at airports it serves, including SMF but said a considerable portion of its published schedule is affected.

A statement about widespread cancellations from Southwest reads, in part:

“With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable,” the airline said in a statement. “With no concern higher than ultimate Safety, the People of Southwest share a goal to take care of each and every Customer. We recognize falling short and sincerely apologize.”

It has been an experience travelers won’t soon forget as they ride out the perfect storm of ripple effects from weather-related delays and cancellations, coupled with flying at an already-busy time of year.

“First time I traveled on a holiday,” Pearlman said. “It’ll be the last time I travel on the holiday.”

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