We had a five-hour Southwest flight delay
We had arrived at the airport at 2:30 for a 3:50 flight. Inclement weather resulted in several flight delays. Over five hours, we checked the tracker for our Southwest Airlines flight status. On each occasion, our departure time increased by an hour, though we watched passengers board their delayed flights and take off.
The Southwest agent explained that the passengers from the original destination were aboard our plane and it was on the runway, but she couldn’t give me more information until they were in the air.
Two hours later, after I saw the departure time increase again, I asked the representative if the passengers were still on board. She said that they had deplaned because of a mechanical problem. I later learned that when they reboarded the flight a passenger was missing and they had to take roll call.
As the evening progressed, passengers spoke loudly on their phones, others read books, some slouched in chairs, one played his guitar, some tried to sleep, and others walked the terminal. I empathized with the parents who pursued their toddlers who ran the aisles.
As businesses closed, the noise grew. Employees yelled to their coworkers. The maintenance crew slammed doors. Others rolled plastic dumpsters the length of the terminal dumping trash in them, and the restroom cleaners pushed their yellow rattling carts.
Some, who I assumed were on break, sat behind the vacant gate desk and blared music. People who were reading moved. Eventually, they lowered the Starbucks’ gate closing off half the café.
Around 7:30, when Southwest announced that our plane had taken off, we knew that we were going home. Customers headed to the pizzeria and ordered thin crust pizza, beer, wine, and tall alcoholic drinks. The bar echoed with music and chatter.
When the plane arrived, the incoming passengers looked exhausted but walked briskly, probably relieved that they were finally at their destination. When it was our turn, we boarded efficiently, took off at 8:50, and arrived as scheduled at 10:50 p.m.
Another twenty-minute delay because the jetway employees were not available
Travelers hunched under the overhead bins, some stood in the aisles ready to grab their carry-on bags and exit. The captain announced that he had called ahead, but no one was on the jetway to meet us, so we waited.
No one was there to remove baggage from two arriving flights
Finally, we left the plane and luckily we had not checked any bags. As we pulled our suitcases through baggage claim, we heard a report: the baggage crew had not removed the luggage from two flights. We suspected that the passengers who checked their bags probably had at least another half-hour delay.
Southwest offered the passengers $100 vouchers to account for bad weather, roll call, a mechanical problem, an empty jetway and delayed baggage. We thought that they could have done better.