- Airline News
Among thousands of disrupted travel plans, one passenger’s story in particular has made the headlines this week.
Flight delays and cancelations are frustrating at best, but depending on the circumstances, some passengers are arguably more inconvenienced than others. As the media fallout continues from the cancelation of over 16,000 Southwest Airlines flights last week, more and more passenger stories are coming to light.
One such account is from Katie Demko, who missed her own wedding in Belize, after her Southwest Airlines flight was canceled on December 27th.
A wedding in disarray
The unlucky bride-to-be was due to be flying from St Louis (STL) to Belize City (BZE) with Southwest Airlines. The airline does not fly this route directly, so Demko would have had to connect at Houston-Hobby (HOU). However, just prior to boarding, her first flight was canceled, reportedly due to a shortage of cabin crew for the Boeing 737.
SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY
Faced with the prospect of missing her own wedding, Demko, together with her family and friends, frantically began searching for alternative ways to reach Belize, but to no avail. They even considered the option of flying to Cancún (CUN) in Mexico and taking a bus from there south across the border, but unfortunately, this was not possible either.
Her husband-to-be, however, managed to get out to Belize on another airline with his family in time for the wedding on December 30th, albeit without his bride. The couple ended up spending their planned wedding day over 2,000 miles apart.
Take a closer look at the disruption that plagued Southwest Airlines last week with this in-depth report from the Simple Flying team.
Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
The response from Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines has refunded Demko’s tickets from the canceled flight, but unfortunately, the wedding venue itself was unable to issue a refund at such late notice. According to Demko, the total cost of the wedding booking at the Victoria House Resort was in the region of $70,000, which has now been lost.
Demko said that the ultra-low-cost carrier has not yet been in contact with her directly, despite her being a frequent flyer. Simple Flying has reached out to Southwest Airlines for comment.
Last Wednesday, more than 91% of all canceled flights in the US were from Southwest Airlines. In a recent interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, the airline’s CEO, Robert Jordan, apologized unreservedly for the disruption, saying,
“This has impacted so many people, so many customers, over the holidays. It’s impacted our employees. And I’m extremely sorry for that. There’s just no way almost to apologize enough because we love our customers, we love our people, and we really impacted their plans.”
Demko’s story is just one of thousands, and the airline’s apology will unlikely do much to appease disgruntled passengers whose travel plans have been thrown into disarray. One passenger is already taking legal action against Southwest Airlines for failing to reimburse his canceled flight.
Were you affected by the mass disruption last week? How would you rate the customer service offered by the airline? Share your experiences by commenting below.
IATA/ICAO Code: WN/SWA
Airline Type: Low-Cost Carrier
Hub(s): Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dallas Love Field, Denver International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Houston Hobby Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Midway International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Year Founded: 1967
CEO: Robert Jordan
Country: United States