Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

A one hour flight turned into a 9 hour trip

Explorer C

Our group of 15 plus 3 babies all of the age of 1 boarded our plane at 5:45am in Boise, ID flight # 4446 headed to Denver with an end destination for Cancun Mexico. The first leg of our flight from Boise to Denver was supposed to be a 1 hour and 15 min flight. A flight we’ve taken many times. Well to our surprise that was not the case. We tried our first descent into Denver but the wind was so bad we could not land. So they diverted us to Coooeado Springs, Co. we sat for an hour on the plane waiting for wind to die down in Denver. We took off again for a second attempt into Denver but this time we could not lanf due to a big snow storm. So we again headed back for Colorado Springs. But the storm followed us and we could not land in Colorado Springs after attempting multiple times with so much turbulence. So after failed attempts at landing in Colorado Springs we landed in Pueblo, Colorado at a Private airfield in the middle of nowhere with no terminal to come to and no where to deplane. we proceeded to sit for 4 and a half hours being offered one packet of crackers and 1 4oz glass of water the entire 9 hour trip. People tried to get off the plane and were told we were not allowed to stay, like we were prisoners. One women even left which is her right and we were told the cops were being called on her and she was probably in jail by now. 9 hours. No option of getting off. No food for our children. 1 4 oz glass if water the entire time. I understand weather than mess up plans but 9 hours sitting on a plane for a 1 hour flight? We finally made it back to Denver, they automatically booked us for flights the next day meaning we missed our first night of reservations in Mexico. They only offered compensation to people who had 2 of the many destinations and my compensation they offered a nights stay. And made it clear they were not responsible for anything else. The entire situation was a joke and when talking to murltiple of the Southwest Staff, they said we never should have landed in Pueblo Colorado. And that entire situation was ridiculous. I am a big of fan of Southwest. And I like to fly this airline. But this entire situation was absolutely ridiculous. The pilot said in his entire 30 years of flying nothing like this has ever happened. Well that’s because it was probably avoidable. 



Re: A one hour flight turned into a 9 hour trip

Aviator A

Sorry to hear of your troubles.


What did you want SW to do? It could not land in Denver. It could not land in Colorado Springs. The nearest SW stations were either Amarillo or Albuquerque. It may not have had enough gas to get to these. So it had to land somewhere to get fuel. In retrospect, choosing Pueblo Memorial Airport (not a private airport in the middle of nowhere) was a pretty good idea. It has a runway long enough to handle a 747. It’s an ex military airport with a runway over 2 miles long.


What it does not have is provisioning capability for 100+ passengers on a plane that would normally not land there. Thus SW offered passengers the food and drink already on the plane as more was not available.


Pueblo has passenger service but only via small prop aircraft. TSA rules probably came into play . Allowing passengers off the plane into a non sterile area would have been a violation. They would not be allowed back on the plane. Thus keeping passengers on the plane was probably the only option.


I guess if SW made a mistake, it was leaving Colorado Springs the first time to try to get you to Denver. It probably would have been better to just stay in Colorado Springs. Then again hindsight is always 20/20.


All airlines have horror stories. Some are the fault of the airline. This one was not.

Re: A one hour flight turned into a 9 hour trip

Aviator C

Southwest is a publicly traded company and has an obligation to shareholders and passengers.  As stated, this is a complicated situation and safety was paramount in what had occurred.


I do not see anything done wrong by Southwest.  However, your outcome was not pleasant and no one suggests that it was.  

Re: A one hour flight turned into a 9 hour trip

Frequent Flyer B

Re: A one hour flight turned into a 9 hour trip

Frequent Flyer C

The one comment I would like to say is that the decision on where to divert to is a decision made by the Captain of an aircraft in coordination with an airline's flight dispatch center based on multiple factors.


I do not think it was appropriate for anyone outside of the pilots and the flight dispatchers to say that your flight never should have diverted to Pueblo because no one, besides them, knows that factors that went into making that decision.

Re: A one hour flight turned into a 9 hour trip

Aviator C

This is an open forum and opinions are welcome and do not need to be grounded in facts, as we have witnessed in thousands of posts previously.  Thousands of them.