Hundreds of Southwest flights canceledPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX - Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel 300 additional flights Sunday after canceling 300 on Saturday.
A quick glance at the departure and arrival screens was the first sign of the number of canceled flights.
"We are trying to help everybody," a Southwest employee announced to the thousands of people in line.
People with canceled or delayed flights found themselves in a holding pattern in one of several long lines next to a ticket counter.
"The last text I got said that the flight was delayed to 11:55 from 11," one woman said.
"Unbelievable, worst I have ever seen," another passenger who voiced her frustration.
One person in line compared the scene to what happened in September of 2001 after the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Rhonda McPheron just found out her flight back to Indianapolis is canceled.
"We have two businesses to get back to, and a child in school starting tomorrow. So, we are very upset," she complained.
Southwest will continue to cancel flights while they inspect 79 of their Boeing 737's for "aircraft skin fatigue." As of Sunday, 19 have been inspected. They found cracks in two.
Meanwhile, the NTSB is in Yuma where the plane made its emergency landing. Inspectors have removed the section of the plane that ripped open at 35,000 feet on Friday as the plane left Sky Harbor airport bound for Sacramento.
Early reports indicate that plane did have evidence of skin fatigue cracking along the five foot long gash.
"It’s very important to find out what happened in this event. We don’t want this to happen again," said Robert Sumwalt, with the NTSB.
FAA maintenance records from March of 2010 show the plane did have more than 20 instances of cracking in the planes aircraft frame and stringer clips, which hold the skin on. It was repaired at the time.
While inconvenienced, most of the potential passengers say it’s worth the wait.
"I’m not sure about this situation," McPheron said. "I would rather be safe than sorry. But, it’s hard to deal with."