Southwest Airlines faces federal investigation amid widespread delays, cancellations

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Travelers across the country didn’t make it home for the holidays, or they’re stuck trying to get home, and Southwest Airlines is at the center of most of it.

Not everyone is stuck though, at the Albuquerque International Sunport, people have been able to board their planes and leave. 

But Southwest is operating at a very reduced capacity right now. 

According to a Sunport spokesperson, there were 149 canceled flights between Friday, Dec. 23 through the end of Tuesday, Dec. 27. For the Sunport, that’s a lot.

“Fortunately, being a medium-sized airport – that doesn’t have a lot of connecting flights – we haven’t seen passengers stranded in the terminal or anything like that, because they’re able to be provided for by the airline and have the ability to return home if their flight was originating from here,” said Jonathan Small, a Sunport marketing manager. 

Federal officials are looking at what’s behind the delays here, and thousands of additional Southwest cancellations across the country.

Beyond the TSA Security checkpoints, there’s still plenty of uncertainty. Passengers who’ve fallen victim to these holiday travel cancellations are just happy to get onto a flight Tuesday. 

“We were under the impression that we weren’t going to be able to fly at all, but we’ve been lucky enough to get a, what was going to be a 10-10:30 flight this morning — it’s just a continued delay, so it’s been a practice in patience,” said Patrick Ryan a Southwest Airline traveler. 

Ryan did get a flight rebooked, but he says he couldn’t do it over the phone or online, he had to come in person to get things figured out at the airport.

Some passengers even have had to pay money out of their own pocket to hitch a ride on a different airline. 

“I managed to find a United Airlines flight that got out the next day. Had a few delays as well, but I’ve just been hearing that United’s getting planes off the ground, Southwest? A bit more roll of the dice,” said Ben Paddor, a traveler.

Some Southwest employees, who did not want to go on camera, told us they’re working very long hours and doing their best to help out.