Southwest cancels nearly 90 percent of Philadelphia flights as meltdown continues

Baggage waits to be claimed at the Southwest Airlines baggage claim

Baggage waits to be claimed at the Southwest Airlines baggage claim Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, at Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Southwest Airlines canceled nearly all of its Philadelphia flights Wednesday as luggage belonging to passengers who are stranded at other locations continued to arrive at Philadelphia International Airport.

“They don’t even have enough planes to even fly the bags here,” said Southwest passenger David Reiner.

David and Mary Reiner said they drove from Chicago to Philadelphia after Southwest canceled their connecting flight to PHL.

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They didn’t have access to their bag, but are staying positive even after learning their luggage is still in Chicago.

“We’re with family here, so we’re grateful to be here and just try to have the best attitude,” said Gail Reiner.

As of Wednesday, Southwest still by far makes up the majority of cancellations across the country, according to Flight Aware. The data also shows that 88% of Southwest flights were canceled at PHL, which is an increase from the previous two days.

“Overall, it’s just been chaos,” said Southwest passenger Claire Weiss.

Weiss was among the many passengers who stopped by the Southwest baggage office hoping their luggage was mixed in with the dozens of bags outside the office.

“Everybody in baggage offices has been really lovely and really helpful. I know that they’re doing all that they can. It’s not their fault,” Weiss said.

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The pilot’s union said the company’s outdated IT systems play a major role in why it’s taking Southwest longer than other airlines to recover from the storms last week.

Southwest flies its planes using a point-to-point system, as opposed to using a hub-based system.

The point-to-point makes Southwest more susceptible to widespread problems. Some passengers and flight crew have been stranded since Christmas Eve.

“So what this indicates is a system failure and they need to make sure that these stranded passengers get to where they need to go and that they’re provided adequate compensation,” said Pete Buttigieg, US Secretary of Transportation.

The airline’s CEO continues to apologize and acknowledges the need to urgently upgrade systems.

“Clearly, we need to double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances so that we never again face what’s happening right now,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines CEO.

Employees at the Southwest baggage claim office at PHL are working to call passengers when their bags eventually arrive.

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