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Traveler faces 6-day wait in Oakland airport as weather chaos continues

Sia Lolo waits at Oakland International Airport. | Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A father has told how winter weather air travel issues have wreaked havoc on his holiday family reunion plans.

Sia Lolo had planned to visit his wife and two daughters for the holidays but ended up spending Christmas in the airport.

Lolo arrived at Oakland International Airport from his Hawaii home in Honolulu on Christmas Day.

The dad told The Standard he has waited two days inside the airport hoping to catch another flight, only for two flights to his final destination of San Diego to be canceled in a row.

“The [Southwest Airlines] desk told me the next flight to San Diego was on Dec. 31,” Lolo said. “It’s been crazy. I’m just sitting here.”

READ MORE: Air Travel Nightmares Inside Oakland Airport as Winter Weather Ravages U.S.

A large amount of unclaimed baggage sits inside Oakland International Airport on Dec. 27, 2022. | Video by Garrett Leahy

Lolo will still get his family reunion; his wife agreed to pick him up from Oakland Airport, an eight-hour drive from San Diego, after he called to tell her about the delays and cancellations.

“It’s too much chaos, man. People just want to spend the holidays with their families,” Lolo said.

Southwest Airlines announced Monday it will fly about one-third of scheduled flights over the next several days as the winter weather continues to wreak havoc on holiday travel across the U.S.

The volume of cancellations prompted the U.S. Department of Transportation to say it is looking into whether Southwest could have done more to prevent them.

A Southwest Airlines spokesperson urged passengers to use this link to check flight status and said: “We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent, where Southwest is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S. These operational conditions forced daily changes to our flight schedule at a volume and magnitude that still has the tools our teams use to recover the airline operating at capacity.”