Frustrations mount as Southwest Airlines passengers in St. Louis see cancellations, delays and missing bags

S T. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Southwest Airlines passengers in St. Louis are venting their frustration amid flight cancellations, delays and complaints about lost luggage.

Long lines of passengers could be seen at Lambert Airport Terminal 2 on Monday morning for the ticket counter. Similar scenes have been seen at airports across the country when Southwest flights have been delayed and cancelled. Customers have also reported problems getting refunds.

“I stood in line for 40 minutes trying to contact someone last night. The line wasn’t moving so I just said ‘forget it, we’ll try that this morning’. I’ve already been in line for two hours this morning and I probably still have a couple of hours to talk to someone and try to catch a flight. I see that my destination, Columbus, already canceled two flights this morning, so I don’t even know when I get home,” said traveler Anthony Oglesby, who was at Terminal 2 at Lambert Airport.

Bill Bell, a St. Louis resident, had his flight from Southwest to Phoenix canceled on Friday. Bell was rebooked for a flight Monday and spent hours in line at the ticket counter after that flight was also cancelled.

“We got back today and just as we got to the airport, our flight was cancelled,” Bell says. “We went downstairs to get our luggage. They will not release our luggage. They will ship it to Phoenix and then they will return it and we can go back to the airport to pick it up.”

The problem travelers tell News 4 is that flights keep getting cancelled, leaving visitors like Oglesby stranded in St. Louis while also unable to change their flights online.

Oglesby spent 45 minutes waiting in line Sunday night after his flight to Columbus was canceled before leaving Lambert and returning Monday morning. On Monday morning, he again spent hours waiting in line.

Oglesby missed work Monday and says he can’t miss another one. If Southwest doesn’t have another flight to Columbus, he plans to return to Ohio.

“At this point, I’ll probably try to pick up my bags in Columbus,” says Oglesby. “There’s nothing critical there.”

Meanwhile, people at the airport were waiting in a separate line to try to retrieve the bags they had already checked in. The baggage claim line also had people like Mark Stuckey waiting for hours.

“You sign up to tell them your flight was canceled but I don’t get it,” says Stuckey. “They should know that. Then after doing that, all the luggage is backed up. It seems very inefficient to me. I don’t understand why someone can’t let people walk back there, find their luggage, check their ID and check their tag.”

Stuckey’s family of eight was supposed to be traveling to Florida, but after that flight is cancelled, they’re desperate to get their nine suitcases back.

“We even thought about trying to drive because we’re going to be there for a week but we can’t drive because we don’t have any luggage,” Stuckey says. “We are a bit stuck. He somehow ruined our entire Christmas vacation.”

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines sent the following statement:

While I don’t have figures for specific airports that we serve, we are still experiencing disruption to our network as a result of the lingering effects of Winter Storm Elliott throughout our entire operation. Now that the weather is considerably more favorable, we continue to work to stabilize and improve our operation.

We are relocating as many Customers as possible, based on available space, whose itineraries have been disrupted. Those whose flights have been canceled can request a full refund or receive a flight credit, which does not expire. The information for Customers with lost luggage is here: Customers can also speak with a representative at the baggage service office at an airport where we operate or contact Southwest customer service.

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