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Lost luggage of Southwest passengers piles up at IND airport

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Southwest Airlines warns that clearing the backlog of stranded people and lost luggage could take days.

Southwest has canceled at least 183 flights in and out of Indianapolis since Sunday, with four more flights already canceled for Friday.

Southwest said Thursday that it expects to return to normal operations Friday after slashing about two-thirds of its schedule in recent days, including canceling more than 2,400 U.S. flights Thursday. Southwest has struggled to recover after being overwhelmed by a winter storm that left hundreds of pilots and flight attendants stranded out of position to operate flights. Other airlines are back to full strength. Delta, American and United together canceled around 30 flights by late morning, according to tracker FlightAware.

After dealing with the cancelations, many Southwest passengers are now dealing with a second nightmare: trying to find their bags. “This is what I’ve been wearing since Monday,” said one traveler, David Stead.

On Thursday, there were hundreds of pieces of lost luggage at the Indianapolis International Airport.

Stead said, “I called the corporate office, and they said my bags were here, and then I came here and like no it’s not.”

Another traveler, Liza Terrill said, “I mean I don’t honestly know if I want to continue traveling with them, but I don’t know how they would make up for the money I’ve lost honestly.”

On Thursday, Stead was among Southwest passengers who arrived at the airport seeking answers. He and his wife and kids came to Indiana from Florida to visit family. He found out their luggage is stuck in Atlanta.

“It’s been frustrating, but, as you can see, it’s thousands of people, so I mean it’s not the people on the grounds fault, it’s whatever corporate. We’ll just blame it on corporate,” Stead said.

He says Southwest will be mailing their luggage back to Florida.

Plus, they’re planning to drive back to Florida because they fear more flights will get canceled. “Southwest is doing their thing. I know through my credit card. I already called them. They said they have trip disruptions and trip cancelations, so I mean at the end of the day I should be compensated for everything. That’s all we can do as far as this point.”

Terrill says she flew from California to Indiana to visit. Luckily, her bags made it to Indianapolis. “I was with Southwest and I had to find my own flight with Frontier just to get here; otherwise, I was going to be stuck in Denver. I had nowhere to go and then that, and then they even ended up canceling Denver flights, so I wouldn’t have made it home if I hadn’t taken it into my own hands.”

Terrill has some advice for other travelers. “I know it’s hard but remain calm because I was, like, I thought all of the worst things and then I did get a call that my bags were here before I’m traveling back to California this weekend, so thankfully my bags got here before I that would’ve been even worse. So, just try to stay hopeful I guess.”

People who are looking to request a refund can answer some questions on the Southwest website.