Southwest passengers are nonetheless ready for baggage days after meltdown


Bianca Carrasco hasn’t seen her purple hard-shell Samsonite suitcase since she checked it in on the Boston airport on December 23.

His connecting flight on Southwest Airways from Denver to El Paso was certainly one of greater than 15,000 airline cancellations in a weeklong trip that started with a monster winter storm and was days of journey chaos.

Members of the family drove 10 hours from El Paso to select her up on the Denver airport and spend Christmas collectively. Even now that she is again in Boston, the whereabouts of the baggage stay a thriller.

“It left Boston after which it launched into house, I assume,” stated Carrasco, 32, a school administrator and comedy membership performer.

Whereas Southwest returned to its typical schedule Friday, an untold variety of checked baggage continues to go lacking, lots of which made the journeys passengers could not. The airline couldn’t present figures on what number of baggage had been returned to house owners or what number of had been nonetheless pending, however social media is abuzz with complaints.

Southwest provides 25,000 factors to passengers stranded by meltdown

“We’re making good progress reuniting Clients with their baggage,” Southwest spokesman Chris Perry stated in an e mail Tuesday. “Given the dimensions and magnitude of the disruption, it is taking a while, however our groups are doing an incredible job sorting the luggage, scanning them and getting ready them to return to Clients within the numerous methods we’re exercising to take action.”

In interviews with The Washington Publish, pissed off vacationers recounted spending hours in line, returning to airports a number of occasions, repeatedly calling customer support, looking baggage areas to no avail and submitting claims to no avail, and nonetheless no baggage.

“If it wasn’t so severe about making an attempt to get my household’s issues again, I’d discover it comical,” stated Rob Demske, whose household of 4 in Potomac, Maryland, caught his Christmas Eve flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wealthy, cancelled.

The household was instructed that the luggage would nonetheless go to their vacation spot. Then they came upon that two of the 4 baggage had been in Puerto Rico. They later came upon that two had been in Baltimore. Regardless of repeated calls and visits to the airport, they nonetheless do not need their baggage.

“I am not optimistic, given his monitor file thus far,” Demske stated. “I am additionally not overly optimistic that Southwest has any concept of ​​the magnitude of the luggage drawback.”

We’ve got misplaced our bags, and our minds

For Dallas resident Candace Hughes, there may be now a 3rd get together concerned: FedEx. Hughes’ flight to Raleigh, North Carolina, the place she deliberate to spend Christmas along with her fiancé and her household, was cancelled. So had been all the opposite flights she tried to ebook to get there. The advertising supervisor by no means made it to North Carolina, however his baggage did.

“At first they instructed me they’d no concept the place my baggage was going,” he stated through Instagram direct message. “Then they instructed me that he went to my vacation spot, that I nonetheless do not perceive how that works as a result of they canceled my flight.”

On December 28, the airline knowledgeable him that they’d situated his baggage in Raleigh; the agent stated FedEx would ship their belongings the subsequent day to Dallas. His baggage did not arrive the subsequent day, and virtually every week later, it nonetheless hasn’t proven up at his door.

Perry, the airline’s spokesman, stated it’s in step with authorized procedures for baggage to journey with out prospects on a flight. The airline is “doing every part attainable to return” the luggage to vacationers, he stated.

“Given the dimensions of the outage, it’s taking a bit of longer than regular,” he stated.

Southwest Airways faces lawsuit over mass cancellations

Southwest’s coverage permitting passengers a free pair of checked baggage doubtless contributed to the backlog of misplaced baggage, journey business insiders say.

“There isn’t a query that Southwest handles extra baggage day by day than different nationwide airways, as there is no such thing as a monetary incentive for passengers to pack every part in a carry-on with Southwest,” William J. McGee, senior aviation researcher at American Financial Liberties Undertaking. he stated in an e mail. “This undoubtedly contributed to the luggage fiasco final week.”

In 2021, in response to Division of Transportation knowledge, Southwest shipped greater than 99 million baggage, probably the most of any provider within the nation.

Journey analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of Ambiance Analysis Group, stated operational confusion, cancellations and basic chaos had been a “recipe for catastrophe” on the airline, with the luggage scenario remaining the “most tangible” reminder. of that collapse.

What You Have to Know About Southwest Refunds, Rebooking, and Misplaced Baggage

He stated the restoration course of is sophisticated by the truth that a major quantity of guide communication, equivalent to e mail, textual content or telephone calls, is prone to be required to speak with individuals who have been separated from their baggage. Vacationers who need assistance with misplaced baggage can full a web-based request.

“It is regarding that Southwest cannot inform a buyer, ‘We all know the place your bag is,’” Harteveldt stated. “As a part of their postmortem analysis of this outage, Southwest wants to have a look at their baggage monitoring software program and ensure they’ve what they want.”

Traveler Theresa J. Cole, 51, was instructed by an airline consultant that her bag had been discovered on December 29. She had checked her baggage on December 23 for a flight from Denver to Houston, but it surely was canceled and he or she had no luck discovering the bag within the days that adopted. She lastly made the journey on Christmas day; she nonetheless bagless.

On the baggage declare workplace on the day of his return flight, an worker instructed Cole that he must decide up the bag from an handle a five-minute drive away. Cole, the director of operations for a nonprofit group, stated in an Instagram submit that she did not need to danger lacking her return flight.

“I refused as a result of I had no religion that the method could be fast and straightforward,” he stated. The worker provided to ship her bag through FedEx. Cole agreed and left Houston “feeling an amazing sense of reduction.”

Now at dwelling in Denver, his frustration has risen once more. She has been calling customer support to no avail and tried to fill out the luggage declare kind, however the hyperlink did not work.

“Actually, I am uninterested in this course of,” she stated.

So is Elisha Thompson, 39, of Las Vegas, who referred to as her baggage ordeal a “nightmare.” Her Dec. 23 flight from Las Vegas to Memphis was delayed, however she nonetheless made it to her vacation spot. The bag, which contained her favourite sweaters, winter coat, sneakers, Christmas presents and different objects, was not. On Tuesday, she stated in an e mail, she was on her 11th day with out her baggage, regardless of a number of efforts to trace it down over the previous week and a half.

“Southwest was as soon as my absolute favourite airline,” stated Thompson, an administrative specialist for a monetary firm. “Due to their neglect, disrespect and communication they fully ruined Christmas and I’ll by no means spend one other greenback with them.”

He added: “I nonetheless hope in the future to be reunited with my baggage.”

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