‘There were no answers’: Southwest passengers experience extreme delays, some forced to drive after massive cancellations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands of Southwest Airlines passengers were still trying to make their way to destinations Monday after the airline canceled their original flights scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday prior.

“Trying to get to Oklahoma City,” said Tyler Estes, a Southwest passenger whose flight was canceled twice. “Just going out for a business trip.”

Nearly 2,000 Southwest flights were canceled nationwide over the weekend. At least 22 of them were flying into or from Nashville.

“We were supposed to fly home Sunday morning,” said Amanda Gilchrist. “Saturday afternoon, we were getting ready to go back to our room and received a text from Southwest saying your flight has been canceled. I immediately thought ‘that can’t be right.’”

Passengers called it chaotic and confusing.

“It shocked me because I went to the app, and it still said everything was fine. I still had my boarding number and everything. I tried to call and it said that it was a 120-minute wait,” said Marisa Sharp, who was traveling to Seattle from Nashville.

Monday, Southwest officials issued a written apology saying they are “working diligently to restore stability”.

“There were no answers and we weren’t receiving anything when we tried to call,” said Gilchrist. “However, there seems to be a lot of mixed information at this time from air traffic control issues to weather problems, and the rumor mill has a lot of other things that are being suggested.”

Gilchrist and her husband ended up driving six hours home to Nashville instead.

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“We actually had to swap our rental car out because the car that we had while we were in Florida, wanted to charge us around $500 just to drive the car in less than a day,” said Gilchrist.

For those passengers stranded, hotel accommodations likely came out of pocket. A Southwest representative told News 2, the airline does not typically cover those costs.

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