Videos on social media showed rows and rows of bags stranded on Southwest in the claim areas of airports in Nashville. Orlando and other cities.
BALTIMORE: Thousands more flights were canceled across the United States on Wednesday. Days of travel woes in sight as the country reeled from a deadly superstorm. Officials in western New York’s Erie County — one of the worst hit areas in the country. The winter storm — raised their death toll to 37, bringing the national total to at least 59.
Around-the-clock work continued to restore power in Buffalo. The county’s capital, with the number of outages down to 128 residents. Mayor Byron Brown told CNN later in the day.
A different kind of crisis unfolded at US airports around the country. As Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel thousands more flights to recover from a spiraling logistics breakdown.
The airline’s problems stranded thousands of customers as well as pilots and flight attendants.
Videos on social media showed rows and rows of bags stranded on Southwest in the claim areas of airports in Nashville, Orlando and other cities.
“I didn’t try to come earlier this week, it seems like it was such a mess,” said Donald Schneider. Who found himself back at the Baltimore airport three days after his flight to Indianapolis was canceled.
“But I hope to get my luggage back today.”
As she waited in the 50-person line, another passenger from Baltimore told AFP she was hoping to find a baby seat for her two-month-old baby.
The storm, which descended on the US just before the busy Christmas holiday weekend. Led to unusually cold weather for much of the country, including southern states like Texas and Florida.
Temperatures were moderate across the country Wednesday. Including in Buffalo, even as the region remained in triage mode.
The city, located on the shores of Lake Erie near the Canadian border, saw most of the storm-related fatalities.
As temperatures plummeted Friday night, commuters and some residents fleeing their frozen homes. were stranded on highways, unable to reach them by first responders.
“There are multiple unidentified bodies at this time,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said on Twitter.
The National Guard plans to conduct door-to-door wellness checks for every home in the area that lost power, Poloncarz said.
Brown, meanwhile, told CNN he would be able to lift the five-day-old travel ban before the start of business. Thursday because most roads were now clear.
Officials also began bracing for the next potential crisis: the effects of massive ice melt.
Ahead of temperatures reaching 50 degrees Fahrenheit by Friday. New York Gov. Cathy Hochul ordered the deployment of pumps and sandbags late Wednesday in case of “hazardous flooding conditions.”
Southwest Airlines was still days away from resolving its systemwide breakdown. The carrier canceled more than 2,500 flights. Wednesday, accounting for about 90 percent of all scrubbed U.S. flights, according to tracking website FlightAware.
In a series of media appearances. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Southwest Chief Executive Bob Jordan. That the government will “hold them accountable” to compensating customers. For canceled flights and rising travel-related expenses.
Jordan said he was “sorry” and promised to “make things right for customers,” according to a video statement posted on Southwest’s website.
“We are hopeful to be back on track before next week,” he added.
Jordan acknowledged that the problems underscored the need to upgrade antiquated trip scheduling software that was overwhelmed by the storm.
The issue has been highlighted by the flight attendants union, which has called on Southwest to invest more in workers. Several leading Southwest unions are stuck in contract talks after previous contracts expired.
Another union, TWU Local 555, which represents ground workers, said the outage reflected a failure to adapt. Southwest’s systems as its operations evolved.
“While this can be complicated, especially during the holiday season. We need to consider better spacing of flights during extreme weather events durin. The bitter cold of winter – as well as the extreme heat of summer,” said Local 555 President Randy Barnes.
Realizing the Southwest wouldn’t make it from Arizona to Boston for Monday’s. NHL Winter Classic, Tim Maher rented a car for his family and embarked on a cross-country drive.
Maher told CNN that the ride itself was surprisingly fun, but the family didn’t have luggage — a common problem for customers.
“People have gifts or medicine or electronics in that bag that they just gave you, thinking they’re going to get it in a few hours,” Maher told the network.