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Frustration is growing at airports across South Florida airports from passengers trying to get home after Christmas but can’t due to a deadly massive storm last weekend that ceased air travel across the country.

Early Tuesday morning, 19 flights were delayed at Miami International Airport and 36 flights were canceled. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, 27 flights were delayed and 87 were canceled.

“I’m devastated, so I’m pretty sure the kids are devastated because this is not a normal Christmas for them,” said Terral Hardy, whose family of 17 people had planned to depart on a cruise starting on Christmas Eve. “This was something that was our first time deciding to do this and it was a complete disaster.”

Southwest Airlines, which has faced increasing criticism for its number of flight cancellations on Monday, has announced that they will operate one-third of its scheduled flights “for the next several days.”

Blaming the chaos to their flight schedule on this past week’s winter storm, Southwest said in a statement that the winter weather caused disruptions to their full holiday travel plans, causing the catastrophic cancellations.

“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,” the airlines’ statement read. “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.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation responded in a tweet, saying in part:

“USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service. The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”

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Frustration Grows At South Florida Airports After Delays Increase

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