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After Southwest Airlines cancelled their flight, the Powell family drove for 23 hours



Billings, Montana – As Monday approached, the number of holiday travelers reporting terrifying experiences around the country began to decrease.

After what the airline claims was a meltdown caused by the winter storm that occurred the previous week, Southwest Airlines has returned to a more regular flying schedule.

On Monday, the airline headquartered in Dallas was forced to cancel 160 flights and more than 400 others had to be delayed, the majority of which were flights to or from Denver.

During the past week, dozens of flights were canceled each day, which affected tens of thousands of people. One family from Powell, Wyoming, was among those affected.

After celebrating Christmas in San Diego with their extended family, the Hollands flew back to their hometown.

Their journey was broken up into two legs, each of which included a couple of stops in Billings. Additionally, there were several flight cancellations made by Southwest.

Instead of taking the chance of having another reservation canceled, the family made the decision to rent a vehicle and travel the 23 hours back to Powell.

“It’s Heart Mountain,” six-year-old Mikey Holland said about the drawing of the mountain he did during the trip home.

“Trying to manage 23 hours in a span of two days is pretty crazy, but they were troopers,” said Mikey and his sister.

David Holland states that he and his wife, Donella, made the decision to drive rather than take a chance on the Southwest flight leaving San Diego rather than risk missing their departure.

“We lucked out,” David Holland said about finding a rental car. “There were two cars left from Budget. They were the ones that we went through that we got a pretty good deal on.”

They had to go home via a route that was a little bit longer since they had to pick up their car in Bozeman, which they had left behind on Christmas Eve while they were traveling on a Southwest Airlines aircraft.

They left Bozeman that evening and flew to Las Vegas, where they were informed approximately every 15 minutes that the connecting flight to San Diego would be further delayed.

“The flight did not take off until 1:00 in the morning,” Holland said. “So we waited an additional two hours on the flight to get to take off and then we arrived in San Diego at 2:15 in the morning.”

They arrived in San Diego early on Christmas morning after a long journey.

The Hollands and other members of their extended family from Albuquerque traveled to Virginia to celebrate Christmas with the Hollands’ daughter, Zaira Marez, who is serving as a member of the crew on the USS Tripoli.

“We got to have Christmas lunch with her and all the crew members on the ship,” said Holland, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to Holland, her family of 11 people had not celebrated Christmas together in either seven or eight years.

As a result of the flight cancellations caused by Southwest Airlines, the Albuquerque family also altered their plans.

“Super thankful that we all had that opportunity and I know it meant a lot to all of us,” Holland said.

Holland claims that he has a good understanding of what he has learned from Southwest regarding issues with computers, the weather, and a lack of staff.

In addition, he claims that he is anticipating that Southwest would pay for his family’s travel expenses, which are expected to be around $1,000 and include airfare, vehicle rental, food, and hotel stays.

In addition, he is a teacher in Powell, and he claims that his two younger children have already learned some valuable things along the way.

“Learning how to be patient and use their creative minds,” he said.


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