Local family helps daughter return to California following flight cancellation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Step inside Ray Lucero’s Albuquerque home, and you’ll see that his daughters are his pride and joy. Both are in the military, one in the Army and the other in the Coast Guard.  

Lucero doesn’t get to see his daughters very often because of their duties, but it was pure joy when at least one of his daughters, Elizabeth who is in the Coast Guard, made it home for Christmas.  

On Tuesday, joy turned to panic when Elizabeth’s Southwest flight to California was cancelled.  

“She called her commander and said ‘I’m not going to be able to get a flight until January 1st’ and he was like along the lines of, you know we have coverage, we need to have you here,” said Ray.    

The mission was to get Elizabeth back to the West Coast. The Lucero family looked into every option from getting another flight, to hopping on a train.

But those options were either too expensive or took too long. So they settled on renting a car, but that wasn’t cheap either.  

“She was not happy, she was more unhappy about the cost. Adding cost on top of everything she had to do to get out here in the first place, it was rough on her,” Ray said.   

What should have been a short flight from Albuquerque to San Francisco turned to a 16-hour car ride. Elizabeth left early Wednesday morning and will stop halfway to rest – she plans to be at work later this week. 

Ray says he hopes that Southwest Airlines will be held accountable.  

“I’m hoping Southwest owns up to the promises, and I’m praying for people to get home safe, it’s pretty rough out there,” said Ray.