Carlton family on unexpected road trip home from Florida after canceled flight

Published: Dec. 31, 2022 at 6:23 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - As Southwest Airlines says their operations are returning to normal, one Carlton family is driving all the way home from Florida.

“Keeping a positive mind on everything is probably what’s keeping us going,” Lisa Chapman said.

The Chapmans had their winter break planned out - they’d go on a 10-day cruise and fly out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to be back in Oregon for the start of the school year Tuesday.

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Then mass cancellations from Southwest Airlines changed their plans.

“Two days before we got back into port, I received a text message that my flight had been canceled by Southwest,” Chapman said. “I was devastated.”

So, they rebooked two flights. On Saturday, Chapman hoped her husband Craig could fly to PDX and she’d fly out the next day with their son Hunter. But when they figured those flights would be canceled as well, they took matters into their own hands.

“We decided that we would cancel and get our refund someday through Southwest and then we rented a car and now we’re now in the middle of traveling from Fort Lauderdale to our hometown of Carlton, Oregon,” she said. “So, it’s a mess.”

The Chapmans are now on day two of a cross-country road trip they never expected to take, at least not like this. Luckily, she said they’ll make it home on Monday.

“We have always wanted to do a cross country trip, you know? We actually have a trailer and we wanted to see monuments and different things that are cool in our country because I’ve never been able to see parts of history,” Chapman said. “We just passed the St. Louis arch and I’d love to see that. We’re pointing it out like, ‘there’s the arch! there’s the arch!’ But we just saw it in passing.”

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This week, Southwest’s chief commercial officer released a video statement saying they’d provide refunds and allow customers to submit receipts for any other travel arrangements they had to make. Chapman said she’s keeping track of every expense she can.

“I’m keeping all of my receipts for food, hotel, rental car and that’s pretty much it and that’s money we can’t afford to spend,” Chapman said.

Saturday the Southwest CEO put out a statement saying they know they have to work to restore customers’ confidence in them.