Stranded holiday travelers resort to Greyhound and car rentals, hoping to get home by 2023

Dan Smith

Arctic explosions that began Thursday may have come at the worst possible time for vacationers stranded at airports across the US

Southwest Airlines passengers have been told they won't be able to rebook canceled flights until 2023.

Some of them have taken matters into their own hands, renting a car or driving over 30 hours to get home in time for the New Year celebrations.

According to, there were more than 3,700 flight cancellations in the US on Monday, most of them on Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines said it has canceled more than 2,700 flights across the United States in the next few days and has stopped selling most domestic tickets as it works to fix its scheduling software.

Dallas resident Jorge Romeli, 27, said his ticket from El Paso to Dallas was canceled on Sunday night.

"When I got to the airport, most of the car rental lines were empty because we were told we didn't have anything and nobody was waiting," he said. . "Except for Hearts, which had a huge line that seemed motionless."

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The next morning, when I checked the rental car, it was up to $500 in one day. When he found a $150 rental, he booked it. However, when he arrived we were told there were no one way rentals left. All rentals had to be returned to the same location.

"I don't take 'no,'" he said. "So I said to myself, 'I need to find another way.'"

Plan C bought a Greyhound bus ticket for about $240. But when he showed up at the El Paso station of North America's largest intercity bus service, he said he didn't feel safe there.

Romeli said he began to accept there was no way home when a friend called him from the airport, saying, "If you find a car, would you like to ride with me to Dallas?"

My friend borrowed my grandfather's car and the two of us drove nine hours through the night, arriving in Dallas at 4am on Tuesday morning.

"It's the end of the year and there's a lot to do. [health care management company]," he said. "I was really nervous. But I'm really aggressive."

Car rental availability in D-FW

I looked online for a rental car in Dallas/Fort Worth on Tuesday and was able to pick up and return the rental car at the same location in North Texas. However, travelers who wanted to leave Texas and return home were out of luck.

Alamo Car Rental Service at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport said it ran out of one-way car rentals on Tuesday. Said there was

"Right now it's tight because we can only rent one way due to storms and holidays. Then we have to break it off.

Love Field Airport and DFW International's Enterprise, Hertz and Budget car rental services did not answer calls. Love Field's budget said he would wait over 30 minutes on the phone to speak to someone.

DFW's Budget and Love Field's Avis didn't answer the phone, but there was a voice message explaining how to get a refund if the flight was canceled for those who prepaid for the rental car.

What to do if your flight is canceled