Family spends Christmas at airport, still trying to get home

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 11:27 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Cancellations continue at airports around the country. Tuesday, 100 flights were scrapped at Harry Reid International, the vast majority of them by Southwest Airlines.

Nationally, Southwest cancelled more than 2,900 flights Monday and 2,600 more Tuesday in the aftermath of the massive winter storm that wrecked Christmas travel plans across the U.S. The airline said it could take days to fully restore normal operations due to pilots hitting yearly flight hour limits and inadequate computer systems.

“We had planned to go to New York City for Christmas to see my son,” shared Rachel Grey sitting with her daughter Marissa Strand and granddaughter Emilia Strand at baggage claim at Reid International.

Baby Emilia, her mom, and grandma ended up spending the little one’s first Christmas stuck in a Dallas airport.

“We spent 3 days in Dallas because the flights kept getting cancelled because of the weather,” Grey explained.

“It was hard seeing all the other families with newborns and children just sleeping on the floor,” Strand added. The family from Gallup, New Mexico says Southwest rebooked then cancelled their flights five times.

“You have probably 200 people in line and you have two people trying to help them. We were at the front of the line and I figured we would get another flight and go to New York and he said there are no more flights and I’m like, ‘Well what are you going to do with all these other people?,’ and he’s like, ‘Tell them the same thing we just told you.’” Eventually, they did get on a flight to Vegas but once again faced cancellation.

“We made a reservation to go from here to Albuquerque and they booked it and then this morning… they cancelled us,” Grey recounted.

They are willing to drive but all rental cars are sold out.

“Now I am checking bus tickets, but the website is not very good,” Grey stated showing her phone to FOX5. As we spoke to them, they learned their luggage had made it to New York. All of baby Emilia’s Christmas presents are still in that luggage. Grey said the family is trying to make the best of an awful situation, but she really needs to get back to New Mexico.

“I am supposed to be at work tomorrow and a dear friend of mine passed away and his services are tomorrow and that’s why I am trying to get home,” Grey shared.

The frustration of flyers around the country will continue as Southwest has already cancelled 2,500 flights Wednesday and nearly 1,400 flights Thursday as it tries to get back on schedule.

Nationally Tuesday, Spirit Airlines and Alaska Airlines both canceled about 10% of their flights, with much smaller cancellation percentages at American, Delta, United and JetBlue.