BOSTON — Frustrated flyers at Logan Airport want answers as Southwest Airlines canceled most flights out of Boston again Wednesday, marking the third straight day of wrecked post-Christmas travel plans.
As of Wednesday morning, 80 percent of Southwest flights at Logan were already canceled, according to FlightAware. Tuesday and Monday were no different.
‘It’s really disappointing. I don’t expect Southwest to survive this. I’ve never seen anything like this before with one particular airline,” said Camron Bryant, of Jamaica Plain. “This is just a complete failure from the top down.”
Southwest has been scrubbing flights across the country in the aftermath of a winter storm that impacted many cities. The airline axed 2,500 flights nationwide for Wednesday and more than 2,300 for Thursday.
CEO Robert Jordan said Southwest would operate a reduced schedule for several days but hoped to be “back on track before next week.” Jordan blamed the winter storm for snarling the airline’s “highly complex” network.
“We have some real work to do in making this right,” said Jordan, a 34-year Southwest veteran who became CEO in February. “For now, I want you to know that we are committed to that.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has criticized airlines for previous disruptions, said his agency would examine the causes of Southwest’s widespread cancellations and whether the airline was meeting its legal obligations to stranded customers.
“Meltdown is the right word, this is an unacceptable situation,” Buttigieg said. “From what I can tell, Southwest is unable to locate even where their crews are, let alone their passengers, let alone baggage.”
Customers Boston 25 News spoke to Wednesday morning said, in some cases, bags are arriving without their owners because crew members aren’t showing up to flights.
“They had us sitting there waiting and it was minutes before we were supposed to get on -- canceled,” said Kimberly Casten, of Boston, who was flying home with her family from a Christmas ski trip in Colorado when their Denver flight was cancelled. “Then they said our luggage would go without us.”
The Castens said they spent a fortune rebooking through JetBlue.
“They [Southwest] said the next flight we could get on would be January 2,” said Casten. “Who could do that? Where would we stay?”
Buttigieg said other airlines have recovered from recent winter storms and are seeing cancellation rates of about 5% while Southwest’s cancellation rate is hovering around 70 percent. He said customers are entitled to refunds and reimbursements for food and lodging and vowed to hold Southwest accountable.
President Joe Biden addressed the cancellations on Twitter and urged impacted customers to check airline policies to see what they are entitled to.
“They [Southwest] said we could - within reason - charge or find a new flight and they would pay for it,” said Bryant. “We are hoping to get refunded eventually, hopefully before they go bankrupt.”
Some customers told Boston 25 News they would never fly with Southwest again.
“We don’t usually travel Southwest, but it was a direct flight,” said Casten. “I don’t think I want to take Southwest again.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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