MIAMI – After eight grueling days, there appears to be an end in sight to the Southwest Airlines snarl.
The airline announced on Thursday that it would return to normal service on Friday, releasing a statement which said, in part:
“We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made to realign crew, their schedules, and our fleet. We know even our deepest apologies -- to our customers, to our employees, and to all affected through this disruption -- only go so far.”
At Miami International Airport on Thursday there were signs of the chaos still lingering.
Dozens of unclaimed bags sat waiting for their owners.
Traveler Coromoto Perez told Local 10 News Southwest cancelled her flight Thursday night. The airline provided her a hotel but no ground transportation.
Throughout the day on Thursday more than 2300 flights were cancelled, and over the past four days there have been 10,000 flights cancelled.
The airline has blamed its outdated system, which couldn’t help delays and cancellations caused by last weekend’s winter storms.
“Clearly we need to double down on our already existing plans to upgrade systems for these extreme circumstances,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Ben Jordan.
There were some signs of normalcy Thursday though, with some passengers saying they travelled Southwest without delays.
“I had to be here for an event,” said traveler Stephanie Bent. “But thankfully, I don’t want they did, some magic, but they worked it out.”
The Department of Transportation has issued a formal warning to Southwest Airlines that it must cover the expenses incurred by stranded travelers.
Southwest has set up a webpage where travelers can submit requests for reimbursements, which can be found by clicking here.