SAN DIEGO — With 194 flights canceled in and out of San Diego International Airport Tuesday, 80% of them were Southwest Airlines flights.
The airline has been under fire for several days after it has canceled flights for several days and left travelers stranded at airports across the country.
Many travelers have opted to forego their plane ticket and book a rental car, adding several hundred dollars to the cost of their trip.
“This was a total fiasco,” Michelle Mattox said. “We have a cruise that leaves tomorrow that we can’t miss.”
Mattox, Rob Wexler and their son Anderson flew out of Washington D.C. on Christmas anticipating to board a cruise in San Diego on Wednesday, but they ended up stuck in Austin Monday.
After several cancelations and delays, and 20 hours in airports, they decided to book a rental car and drive from Austin to San Diego, a 1,300-mile impromptu road trip.
The family drove to the San Diego International Airport when they arrived, and luckily, found their bags awaiting them in a sea of thousands of suitcases awaiting their owners.
“20 hours of our vacation time was spent at an airport,” Wexler said.
The extra expenses are adding up as travelers create their own flight path.
“It was $400 for the rental car, plus the gas, hotel,” said Mattox, who is saving her receipts and will be sending Southwest a bill.
San Diego resident Tuhina Lal says she and her husband have spent $1,000 to $1,200 in the last 12 hours. They were stuck in Las Vegas after Christmas and paid nearly $500 for a one-way rental car, which included a $380 fee.
“The rental cars were trying to make their quick buck, which was so unfortunate,” Lal said.
As families are still waiting for flights, many are left wondering if Southwest will reimburse for some expenses caused by the cancelations.
“Something’s got to happen,” Mattox said.
For people who want to try and book on a different airline, many prices are high since it is last-minute travel. For example, a flight Wednesday from San Diego to San Francisco is at least $600.