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Houston family still stranded from Southwest Airlines meltdown

The Southwest Airlines debacle has left one Houston family stranded in North Carolina for nearly a week — and they’re still not sure when they’ll make it home.

The Arguetas showed up at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport Tuesday — six days after their original flight was canceled — to find their flight was yet again delayed.

“It’s ridiculous,” Alex Argueta told ABC13. “I mean, they’re saying they have a flight tomorrow that they’re not even guaranteeing we’re going to be able to actually catch it and catch our next flight.”

Alex arrived in North Carolina on Dec. 22 along with his mother-in-law, wife, and three young children.

They planned to spend the holidays and leave on Dec. 28 but were forced to stay another week after an operational meltdown led Southwest to cancel more than 15,000 flights last week.

The airline also lost two of the Argueta family’s suitcases, leaving the family to get through the week with essentially what they had on their back, they said.

In addition to both parents missing work, Alex said one of his daughters is in danger of missing her first day of school if they don’t make it back to Houston by the end of the week.

Alex Argueta stands in the airport.
Alex Argueta says his family has been stranded in North Carolina since their Southwest flight was canceled last Wednesday.

The Arguetas spent several hours stranded in the airport Tuesday, most of which they spent unproductively on the phone with Southwest representatives.

Alex’s wife, who declined to share her name, spent three hours on the phone with a representative before she said she was hung up on. She also spent another hour and 15 minutes on the phone earlier in the day.

“They just say it’s not their fault,” Alex said. “And that’s pretty much it. I mean we’re stuck here.”

The Argueta family sits in the airport.
The family showed up for a Tuesday flight to find out it had been canceled.

The Argueta family sits in the airport.
The Arguetas are considering driving nearly 1,200 miles to get back home to Houston.


The family is looking into renting a car and driving the 1,200 miles to Texas, but the decision would come at an additional cost — they would need to buy three car seats for their young children.

“That’s a risk that we’re most likely going to take,” Alex said. “I have no words for them because they’re not willing to do anything.”

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan vowed last week to refund customers who were impacted by the company’s meltdown. One passenger sued the airline for not following through on the promise, claiming he was only offered credit.

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