mandag 12. februar 2018

Southwest out of de-icer at Midway, Chicago - Curt Lewis

Southwest Airlines runs out of de-icer, cancels all flights from Midway

Southwest Airlines cancels almost all flights at Midway Airport on Feb. 11, 2018, in Chicago. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

For at least the second time this winter, Southwest Airlines had trouble de-icing planes at Midway Airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.

On Sunday, the Chicago Department of Aviation's website showed cancellations of all Southwest Airlines flights departing Midway. A Southwest Airlines representative sent a written statement in response to inquiries regarding the flights.

"Throughout the storms, we've actively worked to manage our glycol levels (used to de-ice aircraft) but due to the severity of the winter weather Southwest has proactively canceled about 220 flights as of midday Sunday," the representative wrote.

Additionally, in a response to a passenger question on Twitter about Midway, a Southwest representative wrote: "Due to having to de-ice many of our aircraft because of the weather, we are running low on de-icing fluid."

"Flights have been cancelled due to Operational challenges due to the lack of deicing fluid in Midway," the company also said on Twitter.

Orland Park resident Jim DeYoung, his wife, her sister and the DeYoungs' brother-in-law were meant to have landed in Orlando, Fla., by the afternoon. They arrived at Midway around 11 a.m. for a 1:45 p.m. flight to Florida, DeYoung said.

"At 10:50 a.m. it showed the plane was on time, and by the time we got to the airport shortly after 11 it had been canceled," DeYoung said. "Everyone who had reservations on the airline, there are no flights going out today."

DeYoung was told the flights were canceled because of weather, but he said if it had only been weather, it likely would have affected more than a single airline. The Twitter account for Midway reported that more than 250 flights were canceled Sunday, which means 30 flights with different airlines also were canceled.

"It ended up what we heard from multiple sources was they did not get their supply of de-icer and didn't have enough to de-ice the planes," DeYoung said.

Having arrived well in advance of their flight, the DeYoungs were able to change their departure date to Monday afternoon, he said. The family was toward the front of the line to get their plans rescheduled, he said, and expressed concern that not everyone was going to have such a smooth process.

The family plans to spend two weeks in the Orlando area.

"We're down by a day. There's other people -everybody has a story, you know, of where they're trying to go," DeYoung said.

A few days after Christmas, 90 Southwest Airlines flights were canceled because of delays caused by the de-icing of planes, according to a statement from the airline at the time. The airline blamed freezing conditions at the airport for slowing down crews in charge of de-icing the planes, the statement said.

Temperatures in Chicago on Sunday were in the mid-20s, according to the National Weather Service.

"It would be nice if Southwest could do something for us, but that probably comes under the heading of 'weather problems,' " DeYoung said.

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