El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – The magnitude of the operations disruption with flight cancellations leaves the question of how out-of-town fans will recover from not being able to make it to the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl this year.
The annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl brings thousands of travelers each year, and while Southwest Airlines still tries to manage their recovery from operational challenges, fans and even families of players flying in from out of town have had enough of the challenge of getting to the El. Passo.
Southwest issued a statement on Thursday, December 29, planning to continue their return to normal operations with minimal disruption for Friday, December 30. This stems from the size and scale of disruptions from flights being canceled in different parts of the country. However, for those families traveling out of town for the Annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, it may already be too late.
“We have some of our parents trickling in. I know Jake BoBos’ parents drove 12 hours. They decided to jump in a car and go here, and we still have parents trickling in,” says the team’s head coach. UCLA Bruins football coach Chip Kelly was also asked how the players’ families have been affected. “We’re hoping to get the whole division here by game time tomorrow.”
With the operational challenges from the Southwest being a world-renowned issue, many Pittsburgh fans flying in for the big game are unable to make it. “Well, I know we’ve had some calls from people in Pittsburgh who want refunds for their tickets because they can’t get here,” says Bernie Olivas, Director of the Sun Bowl Association. “You know we have a no refund policy, even though we did last year; and I hear some people from Los Angeles are moving down here.”
Bernie went on to explain that some of those Pittsburgh fans who couldn’t make it this year have started selling their tickets to military personnel, which he says is great since we have the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso .
As for individuals still trying to recover from the extent of the disruption to their booked flights, Southwest Airlines has created a page at Southwest.com/traveldisruption for customers to submit refunds and reimbursement requests for meals, hotels and alternative transportation; as well as connecting customers with their luggage.