Southwest disaster: Local couple misses Christmas, rationing medicine

Another Franklin mother recounts ‘traumatizing’ travels with young daughter
Locals reflect on the impact of their canceled Southwest flight
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:00 PM CST
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Tenn./Ky. (WBKO) - A travel nightmare is what many travelers are calling their recent experience with Southwest Airlines.

Locals from the area are sharing their experiences that left some missing Christmas and out thousands of dollars.

“It’s literally like a Hallmark show all wrapped up in this crazy adventure. And we’re still not home,” said Jennifer Reed, White House Tennessee resident.

Jennifer and Jimmy Reed thought they’d plan a few days away in New York City before Christmas.

“We never been in New York before and we wanted to see what all the Christmas stuff was about,” she said.

That two-day trip has turned into 10 days and counting due to Southwest Airlines and its mass cancellations.

The northern Tennessee couple missed Christmas with their two kids ages 16 and 8.

“There are no words to describe what we went through between 20 hours of subways and buses and trying to get from one airport to the other airport, and running through airports and trying to just figure it out. And no communication,” said Reed.

The northern Tennessee couple missed Christmas with their two kids ages 16 and 8.

“When you see you’re little ones, absolutely heartbroken and devastated that your mom and dad aren’t home, and it’s out of our control-- it’s hard on you,” said Reed.

The couple took a train from New York to D.C. and will take an overnight train to Chicago and then meet a family friend halfway who will bring them home to White House. Those train tickets alone cost nearly $1,200, Reed said. In total, the couple is out almost $3,000.

“We want to be reimbursed. I mean, we have a family, we have bills, we have a mortgage, you know, we need to be compensated for this,” said Reed.

More importantly, Jennifer is having to ration her daily medicine since she didn’t plan to be gone for almost two weeks.

“I bought seven days’ worth of my medicine. I’m on 10 days. So I’ve had to skip some of my medicine,” she said.

Meanwhile, a Franklin woman and her five-year-old daughter had plans to visit her dad in D.C. who’s in the military for Christmas.

“It broke my heart because when our flight was canceled, she was just like, ‘but I want to see my daddy’,” said Jolene Schmucker.

The mother and her child spent hours overnight in the airport and had to get a hotel but they finally made it in time for the holiday. However, getting back to Kentucky was another set of issues.

“Probably around $1,500 extra dollars. And I was only able to use one leg on American to get to D.C. But we drove back, we drove back on Tuesday,” said Schmucker.

Overall, the travel nightmare is taking a toll on these travelers in the future.

“I just never dreamed that an airline could stop the system the way that it has to affect us so badly,” said Reed.

“I’m gonna really struggle to fly in the future because just it was just traumatizing,” said Schmucker.

Schmucker went on to say that a random stranger in the Nashville airport acted as a guardian angel during the stressful time.

She tells WBKO News that this woman, named Katherine is from Franklin, Tennessee helped her tremendously with her daughter during the late night and early morning hours at the airport. Schmucker would love to locate her to thank her again for all her help.

“I feel like sometimes disasters like this bring people together whereas like normally you wouldn’t have that kind of interaction. In spite of it all, I count ourselves very lucky,” said Schmucker.