Thousands stranded at OIA after multiple cancellations and delays

Thousands of passengers were stranded at Orlando International Airport on Saturday after a slew of flight cancellations and delays, mostly due to weather conditions. People lined up for hours to book the next available flight. 140 flights were canceled and 71 were delayed at 10 p.m. Saturday “We had to leave by 2 a.m. today and they pushed our flight back to Monday now so we have to pay for our own hotel,” passenger Brian said Williams. The Southwest Airlines check-in line extended beyond the food court at one point. Some of the passengers were told that the next available plane would not depart until two to five days later. “We went to Disney World, we haven’t been there for many years and after the pandemic we finally had a chance to get off and now we’re stuck,” passenger Joseph Russell said. “Stuck here until Tuesday – at least at least and we’ll see if it’s even available after this line.” In a statement sent to WESH 2, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said in part, “It looks like the terrible weather on your part of the state is a very big factor in what you see at OIA. Before the storms all around you tonight (and lightning-triggered ramp closures, and thunderstorms causing airspace congestion and aircraft routing delays affecting all airlines), some of our first flights departing this morning were delayed, and a handful of them were cancelled, after routine overnight maintenance on our technology systems. inconvenienced by these delays, and our gratitude to our employees in Orlando and elsewhere who are working diligently to care for them, to notify customers whose travel with us today may be delayed and to work with them to through their individual situations. “You’re gonna give me a $200 love voucher, that’s not going to cut it. Especially when I have to pay $500 a night for a room,” said Southwest Airlines passenger Andrea Williams. “My kids are going to miss school on Monday, my son just had his last surgery, he’s supposed to go to physical therapy, he’s going to miss that on Monday… so how are they going to accommodate me with that?” Some of the passengers expressed concern about missing school and work. “I have classes I need to attend and so do at the moment, probably the best option we have is to rent a car and drive the 16 hour drive to Missouri,” Russell said. Along with the weather, the pandemic has heightened staffing challenges. The OIA warned passengers of flight and baggage delivery delays due to weather on its Twitter page and advised people to check with their airline for updates.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at Orlando International Airport on Saturday after a slew of flight cancellations and delays, mostly due to weather conditions.

People lined up for hours to book the next available flight. 140 flights were canceled and 71 were delayed at 10 p.m. Saturday

“We were supposed to leave here at 2pm today and they pushed our flight back to Monday so we have to pay for our own hotel,” said passenger Brian Williams.

The Southwest Airlines check-in line extended beyond the food court at one point.
Some of the passengers were told that the next available plane would not depart until two to five days later.

“We went to Disney World, we haven’t been there for many years and after the pandemic we finally had a chance to get off and now we’re stuck,” passenger Joseph Russell said. “Stuck here until Tuesday – at least at least and we’ll see if it’s even available after this line.”

In a statement sent to WESH 2, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said, among other things: “Looks like the terrible weather in your part of the state is a big factor in what you’re seeing at OIA. Before the storms all around you tonight (and lightning-triggered ramp closures, and thunderstorms causing airspace congestion and aircraft routing delays affecting all airlines), some of our first flights departing this morning were delayed and a handful of them cancelled, after a maintenance of routine night on our technology systems.

In addition to additional flexibility to travel this weekend, coast to coast, we extend our sincere apologies to all customers inconvenienced by these delays, and our gratitude to our employees in Orlando and elsewhere who are working with diligently to take care of them. We will continue to notify customers whose travel with us today may be delayed, and work with them through their individual situations.”

The spring breakers weren’t just concerned about how they were going to get home, but when.

“You’re gonna give me a $200 love voucher, that’s not going to cut it. Especially when I have to pay $500 a night for a room,” said Southwest Airlines passenger Andrea Williams. “My kids are going to miss school on Monday, my son just had his last surgery, he’s supposed to go to physio, he’s going to miss that on Monday… so how are they going to accommodate me with that?”

Some of the passengers expressed concern about missing school and work.

“I have classes I have to go to and so do [my sister] so right now probably the best option we have is to rent a car and drive the 4 p.m. drive to Missouri,” Russell said.

Along with the weather, the pandemic has heightened staffing challenges. The OIA warned passengers of flight and baggage delivery delays due to weather on its Twitter page and advised people to check with their airline for updates.

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