Southwest Airlines Causes a Christmas Catastrophe


Courtesy of Veda Fagner

At Dallas Love Field Airport, customers baggage from cancelled flights wait for their owners. Some of the baggage was from customers who were still stuck in another city. Baggage was storied all over the baggage claim, even piled up to the ceiling.

Over the holiday season, many people planning to visit family in other states had their plans ruined due to an issue with a popular airline. 

“We were on the way to visit my husband’s family in another state,” Southwest passenger Lindsey Miller said. “He only gets to see them a few times a year. We had a lot of fun things planned, so it sucks that we didn’t make it.”

Southwest Airlines uses what is called a point-to-point system. A point-to-point system means that a plane will fly to multiple different destinations in one day without returning to one. Other airlines, such as American Airlines and Delta, use a hub-to-spoke system. This means that they have a hub airport that they stay at, and all of their flights will travel to a separate location before flying back to the original airport. 

After the winter storm, Southwest’s system got the better of them. Their old-fashioned software made it nearly impossible for their computers to handle all of the cancellations and caused them to do everything manually. Unfortunately, this left people stranded in airports without their things.

My family arrived in Dallas at 11:30 p.m. after a four-hour flight delay. We had to wait for a new flight crew after our original crew got stuck in Baltimore. Once we landed, we were informed that our connecting flight to California had been canceled. We decided that we would get our bags and find a hotel. Once we got to the baggage claim, however, we were told that our bags had been sent to California.

We ended up getting an Uber to a hotel after buying a new car seat for my sister, who at the time was only eight months old. Southwest ended up scheduling us for a different flight that was still three days away. Luckily for us, we found a flight back home on a different airline for the next day. It was long past midnight before we went to sleep that night. I was very glad to put an end to a long and stressful day.

We never did make it to California but we did end up getting our money and luggage back a few weeks later.