STORY: Passenger Maria Ferrell, like many others there, was trying to retrieve her luggage after multiple flight delays and cancellations. "My flight was delayed four times and then it was canceled," Ferrell said, "I was told my luggage would arrive on the next available flight that has been sent, but so far, no luggage."
Another passenger Leslie Anderson told Reuters that her daughter, a division one college basketball player was having to stay with a friend of family she did not know, because her flight back to school in Baltimore was cancelled after the airlines flew her out to Denver.
"Her team flew out on Tuesday to go play in North Carolina. So she's missing her her games, her basketball games. You know, me, it's tiring. But for her, a 19 year old, you know, she is distraught, you know, she was crying."
U.S. airlines had canceled thousands of flights due to the massive blizzards that swept much of the country, but Southwest's woes have deepened while other airlines have largely recovered.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday stepped up pressure on Southwest Airlines, saying thousands more canceled flights indicated a system failure. "We are past the point where they could say this is a weather-driven issue," Buttigieg said in an interview posted by ABC News on its website.
Southwest has canceled a total of more than 14,500 flights since Friday (December 23), and on Wednesday canceled 2,500 flights as of late morning, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.
Southwest told Reuters that it would reimburse customers for travel-related costs and had already processed thousands of requests by Tuesday.