Southwest Airline passengers left stranded on the runway have been told the IT glitch “could take up to six hours” to fix, it is claimed.
Passengers across the US have been grounded nationwide and forced to wait on the plane after originally being told their flights were being delayed due to “maintenance.”
But now many have been told of lengthy waits including one passenger who has been stranded on a runway in Nashville.
Rardi Raad took to Twitter to reveal his flight could take up to six hours before he’s in the air.
He posted a video of him on the plane, writing: “Me two in Nashville! The flight deck told us it will take up to 6 hours.
“All planes that landed like ours have no gate to go to because the planes at the gate can’t move. SouthwestAir needs to do way better than it does.”
Shawn Everitt, who is also stuck on a plane in Nashville, revealed passengers have been told to exit and wait in the airport while they wait for more information.
He said: “Everyone is pretty upset. Sounds like we are getting off the plane finally to wait in the airport. The captain has not given any info on the situation.”
Shawn previously said he had been sat waiting thirty minutes with the engines off before an update was provided by the airline.
Cathy Podell found herself stuck in Houston. She told the Mirror she “made it to Chicago safely”, but had just 15 minutes to make a connecting flight. She explained she “spent [an] extra two hours on the plane.”
Decribing the atmosphere she said: “People were restless but patient. [There were a] couple of cranky babies.”
She explained how there were “no drinks” and “broken wifi” on board, and passengers were offered “nothing but apologies.” She said “SW [Southwest Airlines] you can do better”.
Disgruntled passenger Kevin Jenkins was also stuck at a gate in Orlando after being told by the airline his flight was delayed.
He tweeted: “Not another ground stop. Stuck at the gate in Orlando delaying our vacation. We just went through this exercise in December. My 11 year-old can probably fix the computer system.”
Another user tweeted directly at Southwest Airlines saying: “Sitting on the tarmac in Chicago for almost an hour in a fully packed plane because of computer provlems is exactly the way to start off a vacation.
“Get some new IT people or something. This is ridiculous.”
Many Twitter users have taken to contacting the airline directly on the platform to voice their disappointment.
One wrote: “@SouthwestAir I think it’s time to replace your technology leadership team.
“This is the second biggest outage y’all have had in under 12 months. I’m sure this is costing you billions every hour your planes are grounded not to mention unhappy customers and compensations.
“@SouthwestAir please do your remaining loyal customers a favor and take the initiative and replace the folks at the top responsible for nor maintaining a system that doesn’t have proper SLA to meet 99.99% uptime standards.”
Southwest Airlines took to Twitter to address the issue and revealed the delay was due to an IT glitch.
Responding to a user asking what was happening, they tweeted: “As a result of the intermittent technology issues that we experienced, we should hopefully be resuming our operation as soon as possible.
Southwest and the Federal Aviation Administration said by late morning on the East Coast that the pause had been lifted.
“Southwest has resumed operations after temporarily pausing flight activity this morning to work through data connection issues resulting from a firewall failure,” the Dallas airline said in a prepared statement.
“Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost.”
By late morning on the East Coast, Southwest accounted for well over half of all delays nationwide, but the airline had canceled fewer than a dozen flights, according to FlightAware.
In December, Southwest canceled nearly 17,000 flights over the Christmas holiday due to bad weather and its crew-scheduling system becoming overwhelmed.
Those cancellations cost the airline more than $1 billion and are being investigated by the Transportation Department.