(CNN) – What was supposed to be a special day over the weekend turned into a roller coaster of emotions for a bride whose family was unable to attend her wedding after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights across the country.
Kimberli Romano and Kyle Hlavaty live in Chicago, along with most of her family. The couple flew to Las Vegas for their weekend wedding on Wednesday, October 6, and had no problems.
A bridesmaid’s flight was delayed on Friday. But it wasn’t until Saturday morning, the day before the wedding, that the couple began to worry that Romano’s parents might not make it.
A friend of Hlavaty’s was supposed to catch the same flight as Romano’s parents from Chicago’s Midway International Airport. He called them to let them know that his flight had been canceled, and he didn’t know what was going on because he was still on hold with customer service.
“So I called my parents immediately and told them to check everything because we had just received notification that the flight had been canceled,” he said. “And of course it turned out that it was, and I was going crazy. I was very sensitive.”
“It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, get married without my parents.”
Southwest said a number of problems caused the weekend’s cancellations, including bad weather and a brief problem at the air traffic control center in Jacksonville, Florida. Those issues caused minimal disruption to other airlines, and Southwest admitted employees on Monday things got out of control because he lacks adequate staff.
CNN contacted Southwest Airlines for comment.
Two years of planning, a change of venue
Romano and Hlavaty got engaged in October 2019. The couple immediately began planning a wedding for October 2021, and it was originally supposed to be near Chicago.
With everything being so changeable due to the pandemic, the couple rethought everything in March 2020 and opted for a smaller ceremony with 18 guests in Overton, Nevada, about 100 kilometers east of Las Vegas.
Romano’s family sought to fly into neighboring Phoenix, Los Angeles, and San Diego airports – anything that would allow them to be in the vicinity – but to no avail.
“Everyone was in trouble. Kyle and I struggled to find flights. Obviously, we couldn’t get anyone on the phone. In fact, we went to the Las Vegas airport to try to talk to an agent to see what we could do.”
“It is unbearable for many people,” he said. “And it’s very, very disappointing. I’ve been a champion of Southwest for a long time and have been a loyal customer of theirs for a long time, and the way they treated us at the airport … they were so rude and disrespectful and had absolutely no regrets for nothing. It’s very annoying. “
Romano got his parents to catch a flight scheduled to leave Milwaukee on Sunday morning at 6 a.m., but learned at midnight that the flight had also been canceled.
Other than Hlavaty’s mother and aunt, who had flown to Las Vegas earlier in the week, the couple had no family present.
Romano’s parents watched her walk down the aisle via FaceTime.
“The service [de internet] It was fair because we were up in the mountains and all that, but my mother said she could see most of it, “Romano said.” She couldn’t hear anything, but she could see most of it. “
More than 3,000 kilometers from home
The couple considered postponing the wedding, but her parents encouraged them to go ahead with the plans.
“We were wondering what to do,” she said. “But, this was what we had worked so hard for. This is what we had saved for so long.”
Not having his family present at the wedding was heartbreaking for Romano. The newlyweds plan to celebrate again when they return from their honeymoon, but she said it won’t be the same.
“Honestly, there is nothing they (Southwest Airlines) can do to make up for what has already been lost, what they took from me, essentially,” he said. “You know, they are memories that cannot be replaced simply by doing it again.”
He still wants an apology.
“I am sure I am not the only person who was greatly harmed by what happened over the weekend,” she said. “I seek a sincere apology more than anything. Money is money. Money does not return memories.”
The couple is currently in California and plans to drive back to Chicago next Tuesday.