Holiday travel: ‘Ridiculous’: Canceled, delayed flights cause headaches for travelers at RDU

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Morrisville, NC (WTVD) — Holiday travel is always precarious, but Southwest Airlines was particularly hard hit on Monday, causing major inconvenience to travelers.

About 75% of flights canceled at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday were with Southwest Airlines.

The problem was so serious that Southwest Airlines chartered a coach bus to pick up passengers on the canceled flight to Nashville (about a nine-hour drive).

Several people said they took the bus because they had to go to work on Tuesday and it was better than dealing with a very long queue of passengers trying to rebook on other flights.

READ MORE: Family Headed to Funeral Stuck in RDU After Flight Canceled

The airline apologized profusely for these issues and said the challenge was “unacceptable.”

Eric Ford was in Raleigh visiting his parents. His flight was canceled and he was one of his passengers who chose to take coach his bus that Southwest had chartered to Tennessee.

“We’ve tracked down our plane, it’s back from Baltimore, it’s in flight, but we still canceled the flight,” Ford said. “This is kind of silly. A lot of us have to go back to work tomorrow, so we have no choice.”

Harsh Patel, on the other hand, decided not to take the bus. Stay a few extra days with his family.

“It was a bit of a shock when I first heard it,” Patel said. “Some people laughed, but if you have to get there, you have to get there.

“This is the worst thing I’ve seen,” Patel added. “I have never had a cancellation for so many days.

As of late Monday afternoon, the RDU had 46 cancellations and 69 delays.

Antonia Knighten’s flight has been canceled and she won’t be able to return to New Orleans until Friday.

She got a $200 voucher for the trouble.

“They don’t kick us out on the plane until the 30th, so I could lose my job,” Knighten said. .”

Knighten stayed overnight with his daughter, hoping that the eldest would come and drive her away.

“It’s all messed up,” she said. “They knew all along. The other day, this morning, they knew they didn’t have a pilot.”

Pattie Gardebled said she left Houston on Sunday to go to RDU. She stopped in Nashville where her flight was canceled so she drove from Nashville but didn’t get her bag in time.

She said she didn’t want to wait in Nashville to pick it up as it was supposed to take 5 hours. Now she or her husband would have to drive back from Carolina Beach to get the bag while they were there, she said.

“All my Christmas presents for my grandchildren are out there,” said Gardebread. It means that you can spend time with your family.

“We have never encountered a trip to a country like this and live in a difficult country to live in,” she added.

Southwest said they are doing what they can to make things right.

The U.S. Department of Transportation tweeted that it was concerned about the high number of flight cancellations and delays by Southwest Airlines, asking whether the cancellations were “controllable” and whether the airlines were “in compliance with their customer service plans. ‘ was being investigated.

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