‘Up in the Air’: How the Southwest Airlines Flight Cancellation Crisis Affected MHS Families
January 9, 2023
While some families spent the holidays at home this year, others spent it at the airport awaiting their delayed or canceled flights. Senior Principal Dr. Richard Regina falls into the latter category.
Dr. Regina arrived at the St. Louis Lambert Airport on Saturday, Dec. 24, prepared to board the Southwest Airlines flight to Tampa, Florida. However, as a result of winter weather, Southwest canceled thousands of flights — including Dr. Regina’s.
It was a frustrating situation, but we were very lucky.
— Dr. Richard Regina
The family had packed their Christmas presents in hopes of opening them in Florida, but the cancellation left their luggage in transport and the Reginas in St. Louis.
One of Dr. Regina’s neighbors bought presents for his kids, so they had something to open Christmas morning.
“It was a frustrating situation, but we were very lucky,” Dr. Regina said.
Though Dr. Regina said he was frustrated and disappointed with the cancellation, it was a unique experience.
“Yes it was inconvenient; we had to drive back home,” Dr. Regina said. “But there were people that were going from Baltimore to Los Angeles and stopping in St. Louis who were stranded. So, that put things in perspective for me.”
Despite the chaotic nature of this experience, Dr. Regina said he will continue to fly Southwest.
“I’ve always had a good experience flying, so for me, it doesn’t change much,” Dr. Regina said.
Like Dr. Regina, many travelers experienced difficulty with Southwest airline travel during the break. According to CNN Business, more than 15,000 flights were cancelled throughout Dec.
On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 25, Audrey Behrmann, freshman, found that her Southwest flight to Tampa, Florida, had been canceled.
Her family was unable to find another available flight. So, her family found a nearby restaurant to celebrate at.
“We made the best out of the situation,” Behrmann said.
Behrmann said she was frustrated with the cancellation, but will most likely be flying with the airline again.
We made it to Reno with only two bags, and we still haven’t gotten our other bags yet.
— Max Quallen
“Southwest is the most convenient for my family, so I don’t see us stopping flying with them anytime soon,” Behrmann said. “But it was annoying how the whole thing went down.”
Not all customers agree, however.
Max Quallen, sophomore, left on Friday, Dec. 23, for a ski trip at Lake Tahoe. Though his departure went as planned, his arrival did not.
“It was a complete mess, and everybody was freaking out,” Quallen said.
Quallen’s Southwest flight to Denver, Colorado, was canceled due to inclement weather, leaving him and his family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, their luggage was already on its way to Denver.
“We made it to Reno with only two bags, and we still haven’t gotten our other bags yet,” Quallen said.
Quallen said that though the trip was still enjoyable, the family doesn’t plan on flying with Southwest again.