DENVER (CBS4) – Passengers nationwide are trying to rebook after technical issues at Southwest Airlines halted travel plans. Southwest Airlines resumed normal flight operations Tuesday afternoon, but two passengers still can’t fly after Monday’s delay at Denver International Airport.
What was supposed to be a quick layover in Denver turned into a two-night hospital stay.
“The pilot was like ‘It will be 15 minutes.’ Then he said 15 minutes again. Then said 15 minutes again,” said Efia Brown, a Southwest Airlines passenger.
Brown was flying with her 6-year-old daughter, Skai, from Los Angeles to St. Louis. Southwest Airlines’ technical issues turned their “15 minute” taxi to the gate into a 2 hour long wait.
The longer they sat on the tarmac, the sicker Skai got.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, we need to get her off of the plane because she’s not doing good,’” said Brown. “She kept throwing up, and they kept having to come clean out the seat. It was embarrassing and frustrating. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to keep myself together because I didn’t want my daughter to see me cry.”
Brown says the flight attendants did their best, bringing ice and water to Skai while they waited on the tarmac. Unfortunately, Skai couldn’t even keep water down.
The temperature at DIA that day was nearly 100 degrees.
“It was getting so hot. The air conditioning was barely working. There’s the smell of throw up in the seat, and then there’s a blanket with throw up in it.” said Brown. “No one was like, ‘Hey, let’s try and get her off of the flight because it’s hot here and she’s sick!’”
SWA told CBS4 they don’t have any indication that the A/C was turned off.
“Generally speaking, the air conditioning is kept on during all phases of flight including taxi to and from the gate, including waiting for a gate,” said Dan Landson, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines.
When they were finally able to deplane, a stranger held Brown’s place in line as she ran between customer service and her daughter curled up in an airport corner.
“None of the supervisors came up and asked ‘What can we do to help? Or can we put you in a room? Can we see about trying to get you on another connecting flight?’ Nothing,” said Brown.
Skai was eventually wheeled out of the airport on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital Colorado where she’s being treated for dehydration.
“I wish they would have taken accountability or said ‘OK, we need to make sure we get the sick child off of this flight because this could turn into something even more tragic,’” said Brown.
To make matters worse, Brown hasn’t even been able to change clothes since this happened Monday. Southwest rebooked them for a flight that left Tuesday evening, but doctors wanted to keep Skai in the hospital another night.
Their luggage will beat them to St. Louis.