CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The travel chaos at Midway Airport continued on Thursday.
Over 215 flights in and out of the airport had already been cancelled by 4 p.m. as part of a nationwide meltdown involving Southwest Airlines.
The airline had cancelled tens of thousands of flights since Monday, ruining many passengers’ holiday travel plans. Company officials blamed the cancellations on winter storms and an outdated IT system.
Some travelers were stranded for days at Midway. Many could also not find their luggage, to make matters worse.
“You call once a day and you pick option one, which the girl in the office told me the first day I was here, and of course it’s just overwhelmed and swamped,” said Joe Temple, whose flight to Washington D.C. was cancelled. “I figured it was worth some time to come here and see what was going on and do it myself.”
An official for the union representing Southwest pilots said that they expect to have their flight schedules almost back to normal by the end of the week.
One Rockford woman is feeling the frustration after deciding to skip her flight earlier this week. Kate Way was trying to get to Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, but ended up waiting on a standby list of 40 people for over 12 hours before turning around.
She said that she also witnessed workers, even pilots, turned away from flights, which led to some kindness from others standing by.
“There was one flight attendant who was having a rough day, you could say, saw her maybe shedding a few tears in the airport and I saw somebody go and give them a cupcake,” Way said. “So, people were trying to take care of the workers too, just as much as the workers were trying to take care of the people.”
Thursday marked the fourth straight day that Southwest cancelled more than 50% of its scheduled flights. People arriving home to Chicago said that they had no idea how to find their baggage at Midway Airport.