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Canceled Southwest flights impact Memphis travelers

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 8:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Over the weekend, Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights across the country, and with more than 300 flights canceled Monday, passengers are annoyed.

Christine Spence says she flew into Memphis Saturday for a bachelorette party and was supposed to go home to Chicago Sunday, but at this point, she wonders when that day will come.

“I got here and they canceled my flight, so I spent the night. Gave me a flight at 7:30 this morning and when I woke up at 3:30 because you have got to be here a couple hours early, it was canceled again, So, I stood in line and she said three more days,” Spence said.

Sunday, the airline blamed air traffic control issues and bad weather. That same day, however, the FAA said no air traffic staffing shortages had been reported since Friday.

Passengers say they were not notified of the cancellations beforehand.

“We were shocked like we were surprised we didn’t get an alert beforehand until like we got here. They said they sent out a message but we didn’t see it,” said a passenger Hafsa Alrahnani.

Caroline Gillard says she’s now home after her flight to Nashville from Georgia was canceled, where she was stranded in Savannah Saturday.

She says with a shortage of options, she ended up carpooling with a stranger to Memphis.

You may remember airline staffing shortages over the summer caused hundreds of cancellations.

As the airline faces an even bigger mess now, Southwest passengers voiced their message loud and clear.

“Hire more people. Otherwise, this is not going to stop. This is just going to keep happening,” Spence said.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, half of the Southwest arrivals were listed as delayed or had new arrival times, and two of the four Southwest flights leaving Memphis were pushed to new times as well.

Action News 5 reached out to the airline, asking how many flights at the Memphis Airport were impacted. Southwest said, “While we don’t have airport-specific information, we’ve posted our latest update to our newsroom at swamedia.com.”

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