INDIANAPOLIS — Across the country and right here in Indy, Hoosiers are trying to get to their destinations after massive flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines.
According to FlightAware, 40 SWA flights going in or out of the Indianapolis International Airport were canceled Wednesday.
One Indianapolis father and daughter are stuck in Orlando now after their Tuesday Southwest flight back to Indy was canceled the day before it was set to take off.
”We had a great holiday, everything went to plan until I got an email the day before departure,” said Dante Wilson. He and his daughter Kristynn found out they wouldn’t be leaving on time.
Wilson said he tried to call SWA and find a solution through the online portal but wasn’t able to get through. He ended up heading to the Orlando Airport to try and figure out what to do next. He ended up waiting in the ticketing line for more than two hours.
”Once I was waited on the agent told me the first available flight back to Indianapolis was January 1 and that wasn’t a guarantee,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he then looked into booking another flight out but found high prices that he did not want to pay. After that, he thought about driving his rental car back the 14 hours back home but that just wasn’t something he wanted to do.
”I don’t feel that I should have to,” he said. “Being that I scheduled a trip to fly here and fly back home so I wouldn’t have to drive.”
So, Wilson and his daughter decided to stay put and foot the bill for four extra nights in a hotel, a few more days of their rental car and food. He said all that is going to cost him more than $2,000.
”The hotel was probably about an extra $1,200 and then, like you said, we have to eat and things of that nature so I’m hoping Southwest helps out with that,” Wilson said.
Volodymyr Bilotkach, an Associate Professor in Aviation Management at Purdue, said the only government regulations over air travel have to do with safety, and reimbursements for cancellation costs like hotel and food don’t make the cut.
”Regulating this issue, introducing some kind of statutory compensation for delays and cancellations which are essential to airlines is due in this country,” said Bilotkach.
If that were to happen, new laws would have to be passed. Biltokach said that is all in the hands of Congress.
The Department of Transportation has announced it will be investigating Southwest, Bilotkach said it’s unclear if any change will come.
”They can investigate, they can propose changes to the rules but they are not the ones who can enact those changes,” he said.
Wilson said he is staying optimistic that he will get some of his money back for his longer stay but, so far, all he has received from SWA is two $200 travel vouchers for him and his daughter.
If you think there should be changes to how airline cancellations are regulated Bilotkach said the best thing you can do is call your congressman.