‘I’m ready to cry’: Travelers stuck in Tampa as Southwest cancels thousands of flights

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Monday is shaping up to be another frustrating day for Southwest Airlines travelers at Tampa International Airport and around the county after the airline canceled more than 2,000 flights.

Before 8 a.m., 17 flights departing from and arriving to the airport were canceled, leaving many travelers upset.

“I’m ready to cry, I’ve never been in this situation before,” Cynthia Dayish told 8 On Your Side’s Christine McLarty. “What makes it so stressful is we’re so far away from home, we’re from New Mexico.”

Dayish and Darrick Lee said their flight was canceled an hour before it was scheduled to take off at 6 a.m., and can’t be rescheduled until Wednesday.

The couple is now frustrated and stressed out after what should have been a relaxing weekend with trips to Disney and the Bucs and Rays games.

Southwest Airlines is blaming “disruptive weather” and air traffic control issues for the cancellations. However, the FAA said those issues should have only affected flights on Friday afternoon.

Now, thousands of travelers are being forced to change their plans.

“It’s been crazy, we have had no suitcase, we’ve had what’s on our back and that’s it,” said one couple who has been stuck in the airport since Friday.

Louann and Danny Manatous from Dallas, Texas were supposed to fly to Buffalo for their niece’s wedding but they never made it. Instead, they say they spent the entire weekend in the airport.

“It’s been really rough,” Danny Manatous said.

The couple finally made it back to Dallas Sunday night on their seven rescheduled flight. They said they spent around $1,000 on transportation, hotels, and food.

“I’m devastated and I’m kind of scared. This is new territory for us. It’s never happened to us but you hear about it happening all the time. The financial part is a big issue,” said Dayish.

Dayish is trying to find another flight with a different carrier but still has to pay for hotel and food. She said they can’t wait much longer to go home because they run a dog rescue and the dogs need their help.

If you’re flying Southwest Monday, be sure to check your status before coming to the airport.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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