Southwest Airlines Still Under Fire After Thousands of Bags Go Missing Due to Canceled Flights

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The arctic winter storm that hit much of the United States over Christmas weekend devastated travel plans everywhere. But Southwest Airlines passengers seem to be struggling more than others after the company dropped the ball during the chaos. Passengers and their families are stranded and they cannot find their luggage.

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“This is the worst I’ve ever seen in my 27 years of working as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines,” Lyn Montgomery told KHOU 11. Montgomery is the union president for TWU Local 556, which represents 18,000 Southwest Airlines flight attendants.

A Chaotic Holiday

Montgomery said that the problem is based on outdated technology that Southwest Airlines uses. Beyond the weather, which naturally canceled flights due to safety concerns, the company simply can’t keep up with the aftermath.

“Obviously, the impact of Winter Storm Elliott created the issues, but the Southwest Airlines systems cannot recover because we have outdated technology,” she said. “You simply can’t make enough phone calls. You can’t make thousands of phone calls at once.

According to FlightAware, Southwest Airlines canceled 42% of its flights on Christmas Day. On Monday, it canceled about 70% of its flights. Tuesday saw 60% of flights canceled. Making matters worse, Southwest has told its customers that they won’t be able to rebook until December 31.

As passengers, many with children, have been left stranded, they also cannot find their bags. Overloaded customer service support systems and backlogs have made many passengers’ travel plans absolutely hellish.

Southwest Airlines Is Trying to Help — Because It Has To

Southwest in Houston issued a statement apologizing for their customers’ troubles and asking them to keep receipts if they needed to book hotels while awaiting new flights. The airline has also been providing ground transportation to its stranded customers to get them to hotels.

According to the US Department of Transportation, airlines are responsible for reimbursing lost and damaged luggage. Additionally, they are “required to compensate passengers for reasonable, verifiable, and actual incidental expenses that they may incur while their bags are delayed – subject to the maximum liability limits.” Airlines can pay more than the maximum liability limits but not less. Those limits are generally $3,800 for domestic flights.

The US Department of Transportation also said it’s going to look into what is happening with Southwest Airlines.

Read More: Arctic Blast Set to Hit The US Before Christmas: ‘Polar Plunge’

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