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Airline struggles impacting travelers' plans, pocketbooks

KCI Christmas
Posted at 3:46 PM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 15:49:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — As travelers look to get out the door and onto their flights, many arrived to Kansas City International Airport to find lines out the door.

For one local family, the airline's problems became a big problem for travelers, and a costly one.

"If it had been an us problem, it would have just been us that missed our flight, but hundreds of people had problems," Jill Baker said.

On Saturday, Baker and her family were Miami, Florida, bound to board a cruise. When they arrived at the airport, hundreds of people were waiting in the same line.

"It's heartbreaking, because this was the trip that we had planned for years," Baker said. "Our oldest son and his girlfriend graduated from college, the next day our daughter and her best friend graduated from high school. My husband and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage."

After arriving two hours ahead of time to only check their bags, Baker and her family were no where close to catching their flight, and they were just one of many.

"On the flight that we were on, there were probably at least 30, just judging by the conversations that we had with people around us," Baker said.

The flight took off and Baker said travelers in line were marked as no shows by the airline, making it difficult for travelers to get a refund or credit.

"Shame on them because their gate agents knew that. Their gate agents knew that all of these people were standing here," JoAnne Weeks, Vacation Division Director at Acendas Travel, said. "They should have been given priority to get them checked in so they could get there."

While the airport cannot speak for the airlines, a spokesperson with the Kansas City Aviation Department told KSHB 41 News it comes down to three things: less flights, more travelers and staffing shortages.

Travel numbers have reached pre-pandemic heights, but getting people to fill open positions hasn't taken off, which trickles down to travelers like Baker who just want answers.

"We would minimally love to be refunded our ticket price or credited, plus what it's going to cost us to re-book because we booked before gas prices went up," Baker said.

Airport delays are happening nationwide and travel experts say there's no sign things will get better.