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A woman drove for 10 hours to pick up her 78-year-old mom who got stranded for 5 days by the Southwest chaos, report says

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Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 at Austin International Airport, TexasSouthwest has canceled almost 16,000 flights since December 22.

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  • A woman drove for 10 hours through torrential rain to pick up her 78-year-old mom in Oakland.
  • Tracy Hurst told The Mercury News her mother was stranded for 5 days by the Southwest chaos. 
  • Ita M. Kelly, who is diabetic, flew from New Orleans but her connection to Portland got canceled.

A woman drove for 10 hours in bad weather to pick up her 78-year-old mom who got stranded in Oakland for five days over the Christmas weekend by the Southwest Airlines chaos.

Tracy Hurst told The Mercury News that Ita M. Kelly had flown from New Orleans to Oakland with Southwest on Thursday December 22, but her connecting flight to Portland was canceled. 

“I was abandoned,” Kelly, who is diabetic and has bad knees, told the outlet. “Nobody reached out to me to help.”

Hurst said she tried to get a response from Oakland International Airport on Twitter. 

“I was asking ‘Can you check on her? Can you get her a wheelchair and maybe potentially put her in a sky lounge,'” she told The Mercury News, but didn’t get a response.

Kelly spent the Christmas weekend shuttling between a hotel and the airport, hoping to make it onto a flight, the publication reported.

An airport spokesperson eventually notified Southwest after seeing a tweet from Hurst, according to The Mercury News. A Southwest flight attendant located Kelly and they shared a hotel room on Monday night while her mother made the lengthy drive from Oregon in poor weather, the report added. 

A spokesperson for Southwest said “apologies for this are just beginning” in response to a request for comment from The Mercury News.

Southwest has faced huge disruption to its schedules since the winter weather began affecting travel on December 22 and has canceled almost 16,000 flights since then.

Shobi Maynard, a 22-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, told Insider his Southwest flight got canceled right before Christmas, so he rented a car with three strangers and drove 20 hours home.

Another passenger, Brady Goodman-Williams, said his “quick” trip took 41 hours. He never made it to his destination, nor did his luggage.

Southwest asked corporate workers to volunteer for shifts to help with crew scheduling to restore its flight schedule. 

The airline expects to resume regular services on Friday and vowed to refund tickets and reimburse passengers for hotels, car rentals, and other expenses incurred after its mass cancelations ruined holidays plans for hundreds of thousands of people.

Hurst, Southwest Airlines and Oakland International Airport didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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