Frustrations boil over when Southwest Airlines passengers in St. Louis see cancellations, delays, lost bags

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Southwest Airlines passengers in St. Louis are expressing frustration amid flight cancellations, delays and claims of lost luggage.

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

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

Bill Bell, resident of St. Louis, had its Southwest flight to Phoenix canceled on Friday. Bell was rebooked for a flight on Monday and spent hours queuing at the counter after that flight was also cancelled.

“We got back today and as soon as we got to the airport, they canceled our flight,” says Bell. “We went down to get our luggage. They won’t release our luggage. They will send it to Phoenix and then send it back and we can go back to the airport to pick it up.

The issue travelers tell News 4 is that flights keep getting cancelled, leaving visitors like Oglesby stranded in St. Louis, as well as not being able to change their flights online.

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

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

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

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

“You sign up to tell them your flight is cancelled, but I don’t understand,” says Stuckey. “They should have known that. So after doing that all luggage is stowed away. It seems very inefficient. I don’t understand why someone can’t let people go back there, find their luggage, check their IDs and check their tags.

Stuckey’s family of eight was supposed to travel to Florida, but after their flight is cancelled, they’re desperate to retrieve their nine bags.

“We thought we’d try driving because we were going to be there for a week, but we couldn’t drive because we didn’t have any luggage,” says Stuckey. “We are kind of stuck. It kind of ruined our entire Christmas vacation.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines sent the following statement:

While I do not have numbers for specific airports where we operate, we are still experiencing disruptions to our network as a result of the lingering effects of Winter Storm Elliott on our entire operation. With the weather now considerably more favorable, we continue to work to stabilize and improve our operation.

We are reaccommodating the largest possible number of Customers, based on available space, whose itineraries have been interrupted. Those whose flights have been canceled can request a full refund or receive a flight credit, which does not expire. Information for Customers with lost luggage can be found here:🇧🇷 Customers may also speak with a representative at the baggage service office at an airport where we operate or contact Southwest customer service.