ST. LOUIS – Above St. Louis Lambert International Airport Tuesday morning, FOX 2’s Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX captured video of Southwest Airlines planes parked as part of a brief, nationwide ground stop. Inside the airport, the Castro family was forced to hurry up and wait.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for months, and it’s very disappointing,” said Stefanie Castro, a traveler.
Bags packed, the family stared at their phones and the departure board, awaiting the fate of their delayed 12:25 p.m. flight to Orlando. Castro knows this is not unfamiliar territory for Southwest Airlines.
“I am a travel agent, and I did have to fix some trips back around Christmastime when this happened,” she said.
In December, Southwest canceled nearly 17,000 flights in 10 days, wrecking holiday travel plans for more than 2 million people. A winter storm shut down its operations in Denver and Chicago. The airline’s system for rescheduling pilots and flight attendants was overwhelmed. Those cancellations cost the airline more than $1 billion and led to an ongoing Transportation Department investigation.
Regarding Tuesday’s tech-centered delays, Southwest released a statement that reads in part:
Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down, and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost. Southwest teams worked quickly to minimize flight disruptions. We appreciate the patience of our customers and employees during this morning’s brief disruption.
When asked if Castro would ever rethink booking her and her clients’ flights with Southwest, she responded, “Yeah. Definitely does, especially since this is happening again.”
The hold on departures was lifted by late morning, giving the Castro family confidence that they were one step closer to their Disney destination.
“I really hope and pray we are,” Castro said.