‘You're just going to need a lot of patience’: Advice for air travelers amid mass flight cancellations
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - As Southwest Airlines continues to cancel thousands of flights daily across the United States, travel agents in Wichita are experiencing high call volumes.
Agent Kristin Zarchan said it is the worst she has seen since the COVID-19 shutdown. At least nine flights coming in and out of Wichita were canceled Wednesday.
“Just a lot of calls,” Zarchan said. “Help, I'm stranded. I've gotten off a cruise, my flight's been canceled. I can't get home from Mexico, what do I do?”
Charity Woodall said Southwest canceled her flight home to Boston Thursday on Tuesday. She went to the company’s ticket counter at Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport to rebook it.
“Without calling and trying to wait on hold, I thought I'd come to the airport,” Woodall said.
Woodall said she was able to rebook her flight in less than five minutes. She did not want to book her trip on another airline.
“Financially, it is just like not feasible, so I figured I'd at least try this first and then we'll go from there,” she said.
Zarchan said if you are flying over the next few days, bring a backpack with snacks, a phone charger and change of clothes just in case. If you need to contact your airline, reach out via social media or text.
“I would keep checking your flight, make sure it's still on time and still going, but also look up a backup plan,” she said. “So, make sure there's a backup airline in place just in case you need to go that route.”
Workers at Budget Car Rental in Wichita told KAKE News the company is experiencing a rental car shortage. Zarchan said she knows of travelers who are choosing to drive home instead of fly.
“The Christmas season's normally kind of crazy,” Zarchan said. “Anytime you get winter weather, we normally have one or two calls, but I think it's in overdrive at the moment.”