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'This is not fair to anybody': Stranded passengers at Indianapolis airport frustrated over Southwest cancellations

The hundreds of Southwest Airlines flight cancellations have turned some passengers' relaxing vacations into a nightmare.

INDIANAPOLIS — At the peak of family travel for fall break, more flight trouble came Sunday for Southwest Airlines.

Hundreds more cancellations and delays stranded passengers in Indianapolis and across the country.

The Southwest flight cancellations have turned some passengers' relaxing vacations into a nightmare.

"I got to do something. I didn't come here to stay, just to visit," said stranded passenger Nathan Hurst.

Passengers frustrated with the cancellations said the airline needs to find a solution.

"We were both just sitting at the gate getting ready to board our flight, and they canceled it," said Michele Wickman, another stranded passenger in Indianapolis.

"I know there's been a shortage of people working. I hear the stories, but I didn't think it would happen to us," said Samantha Arriaga, a stepmother of a stranded passenger.

As of Sunday night, Southwest had canceled 1,119 flights and delayed another 1,122. That represents about 30% of its flights canceled or delayed, according to the air traffic monitoring website FlightAware.

As of Monday at 1:30 a.m., Southwest has canceled 291 flights for Monday and delayed 95 other flights.

Credit: AP
A flight information board shows cancellations for a number of Southwest Airlines flights, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Dallas Love Field. Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, blaming the woes on air traffic control issues and weather. (AP Photo/Julie March)

The airline issued a statement to TEGNA, 13News' parent company, claiming the delays and cancellations were due to air traffic control issues and weather.

"We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening," Southwest said in an emailed statement. "We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers."

RELATED: Southwest Airlines cancels flights at IND, across the country

However, USA TODAY reported Sunday that the Federal Aviation Administration said the weather and air traffic control issues were limited to Friday afternoon.

“Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place,” the FAA statement read, according to USA TODAY.

Some flights have been rescheduled for another day during the week. Other passengers are still waiting to hear from the airlines about rebooking.

"I got a lot of things going on. Here I am stranded in Indianapolis. It's a beautiful place but not to sit in a hotel room waiting on the airlines," Hurst said.

Credit: WTHR/Logan Gay
Passengers were stranded at the Indianapolis International Airport after more than 2,000 Southwest flights were canceled or delayed last October.

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"I feel trapped because there's no rental cars, there's no flights. We can't even get a flight with another airline," Wickman said.

Passengers said calls to the airline have been unanswered.

"I was on hold with them for three hours yesterday, and I hung up," Wickman said.

Now, passengers said the extended stay is costing them time and money.

"I got to stay in a hotel. I must keep my car. For the convention, I only had suits, so I had to buy this golf shirt … my vitamins and blood pressure, I'm out. I'm going to have to run down to the pharmacy and get some blood pressure tablets," Hurst said.

"This is not fair to anybody," Arriaga said. 

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