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Southwest traveler in Bozeman tells about their flight cancellation “horror”



Bozeman, Montana – When Toni DeMatteis learned that her Southwest flight to Bozeman had been canceled on Thursday, she had come to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, expecting an easy trip.

“We got to the airport on the 22nd. Our flight was canceled as we walked in,” says DeMatteis. “We were trying to figure out another flight and ended up having to drive to Ontario [California]. We had to take a different airline, which cost $2,000 to buy those tickets.”

Southwest Airlines has canceled 15,750 flights nationwide since the start of winter weather on December 22. Over an eight-day period, there were about 25 Southwest cancellations at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. There were generally 8 cancellations per day in total. DeMatteis was among the fortunate ones who managed to travel to Bozeman in time for Christmas, but returning home is another matter.

“Two days ago, our flight on the way home that was supposed to be yesterday got canceled. So now we’re on a different airline that we had to buy tickets for,” says DeMatteis. “We had to pay like for a whole other flight so it was $1,800 for my daughter and I today.”

She claims that despite her best efforts, the airline has refused to grant her a refund.

DeMatteis says, “This week we’ve been calling Southwest and just getting a busy tone.”

Southwest, along with many other airlines, delayed flights last week due to the cold snap that hit, according to Brian Sprenger, CEO of Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, but is having trouble making up the lost time.

“What’s really happening is the recovery period for Southwest has been extremely slow and that has created a number of issues for passengers throughout the country,” says Sprenger.

He claims that barely a third of Southwest’s flight schedule has been running, but he has great hopes for the remainder of the week.

“I believe we’re hopeful that we’ll see the full schedule operate tomorrow,” says Sprenger.

Sprenger advises travelers to pay attention to the weather in the future and follow the advice of their airlines.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that, you know, when they see notices from airlines, particularly about you know, giving them the ability to change their flights in advance for a storm or such. Take a good look,” says Sprenger.

DeMatteis has no immediate plans to book a flight on Southwest.

“Maybe, but right now, probably not for a while because it’s been a whole nightmare,” says DeMatteis.