Southwest Airlines fiasco affected Waukesha residents | Waukesha County News

“We were going to go from there and get to Las Vegas for a few days and fly back from Vegas. This is the second time we’ve tried to bring the kids to Vegas. The last time was when COVID shut everything down,” Lanell Becker said.

She joked, maybe she wouldn’t try to take the kids there anymore.

The flight for her, her husband and their two teenagers was due to leave after 5 p.m. on Saturday. At 1:30 p.m., they received a text from Southwest Airlines informing them that their flight would be 20 minutes late.

“Earlier today I tried to go to their app and everything was glitchy. At 2pm I wanted to check and see if we were still 20 minutes late. He said upstairs the flight has was canceled from Milwaukee to Denver. We never got any notification from them or anything,” Becker said.

She tried to call the airline but only got a busy signal, which is all she has received since Christmas Eve.

Becker said the family was with her sister in Greendale to take them to the airport. They piled all the bags and the kids in the car and drove to the airport in case they were redirected.

She spoke with a Southwest Airlines employee who told her there were no flights until December 28.

“I told him we were going to a baseball game on the 27th, so the 28th won’t work. We asked what was going on,” Becker said.

The family was told there was nothing to do. The employee then moved on to speak to another customer. Her husband went to all the airlines at the airport to try to get a flight, but was unsuccessful. They also looked at other airports but everything was full.

They were told they would get a refund but there was nothing they could do about the non-refundable items of the trip. They are now missing $1,000 just for hosting through Airbnb.

“For my son’s Christmas present, he wanted to go see the Arizona Cardinals play against the Buccaneers on Christmas Eve,” she said.

His son is a huge Cardinals fan and wanted to see JJ Watt.

“It’s been like wham wham about this whole thing,” she said.

Becker said there are other travelers who have worse stories to tell, like missing a funeral or a wedding.

Rushed at the airport for the reason for the cancellation, the Becker family was told it was because of the cold.

The employee said the systems were overwhelmed and could only credit his account.

“She said it would result in a refund. We still haven’t gotten a refund. It just appears as a credit for the airfare,” Becker said.

Becker tried calling, posting to social media and emailing, but didn’t hear a glance from the airline.

“We had a lot of tears. We told our children it was our Christmas. We made Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve morning. We quickly ran over and bought them a few things,” Becker said.

Becker told his son that he might see the Cardinals next year and see if they would play the Steelers for Watts vs. Watt.

“Then (JJ) Watt retires. I was like you were kidding me. What’s going on,” Becker said.

She added that over time, they might all laugh about it, but right now they feel bitter like the weather in Wisconsin.

Southwest Airlines said it plans to resume normal operations today. The airline said crew scheduling was the cause of the collapse, and that has now been fixed.

It is likely that well over a million passengers were affected.

Southwest has acknowledged that it has inadequate and outdated technology that can leave flight crews out of position in inclement weather. But company executives told employees that crew scheduling issues had largely been resolved.

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