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2 Teachers Missed Their $4,000 Honeymoon Cruise After Southwest Flight Cancellation

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  • The Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, teachers were among the thousands who canceled Southwest flights.
  • Marcus and Andrea Grasenick said they missed their honeymoon cruise after a canceled flight.
  • Southwest canceled more flights than any other airline after storms hit the US over Christmas.

Two Wisconsin professors were ready to take off for their dream honeymoon cruise the day after Christmas, but after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights, the couple flew home the next day and lost $4,000.

Marcus and Andrea Grasenick, from Wauwatosa, Wis., told local channel TMJ4 that they flew to Nashville on Monday, where they waited for news of the connecting Southwest flight. After hours of not knowing if the flight would depart, the airline informed that it had been canceled and that the staff could not immediately collect and return the luggage.

They returned home to Wisconsin a day later without their luggage after flying home on a different airline.

“I could see our bags in the snow from inside the airport,” Andrea Grasenick told Insider, adding that they considered renting a car and driving to Fort Lauderdale to try and catch the ship, but that they would be “cutting it close.”

They would also have lost their luggage for the 11-day trip to the Western Caribbean, where they were supposed to visit Costa Rica, Panama and Aruba, among other places. They also planned many activities including a rainforest hike and a tour of the Panama Canal.

“This is the only break we have in common, so we can’t even go at a different time and make up because this is the only one. This is the only chance we’ve had,” Grasenick told TMJ4.

The couple, who married in October, also said they were met with “radio silence” from Southwest and would hesitate before choosing the airline again in the future.

Grasenick told Insider that as of Friday they had only received one email from Southwest acknowledging that they still hadn’t received their luggage. According to the luggage trackers the couple had on their bags, they were still stuck at the Nashville airport.

Grasenick said that although company communication was lacking, individual Southwest employees at the airport were “amazing” and understanding of their situation: “All the Southwest employees started crying when we said it was our honeymoon.”

Now, the couple is working to get Southwest and Royal Caribbean to reimburse them for the $4,000 they spent on the cruise. Grasenick said he purchased travel insurance and that the cruise line indicated he should receive at least a partial refund for planned excursions and beverage packages, but has yet to see any of that.

“At best, we get back the money we spend,” she said. “But at worst, we can’t recover anything.”

Grasenick said that even if they are reimbursed, they won’t be able to make up for the lost time or opportunity to go on a long trip with friends, who ended up getting on the boat.

“You can’t put a price on the memories we would have made and you can’t put a price on how bad they feel about having our honeymoon and not us,” she said. “It’s been a huge bummer and disappointment.”

The Grasenicks were among thousands of Americans who suffered flight cancellations after Southwest had an operational meltdown this week. Thousands of flights between airlines were canceled after severe winter storms over Christmas weekend, but Southwest passengers saw the worst.

Southwest canceled more than 2,900 flights on Monday, accounting for about half of all canceled flights worldwide that day. Cancellations accounted for 70% of Southwest’s total trips planned for that day, according to FlightAware. Outages rippled across the travel industry, causing rental car shortages and higher flight prices.

When reached for comment, a Southwest spokesperson directed Insider to its latest updates page and noted that the company plans to return to normal operations on Friday. The spokesperson also said that Southwest customers can rebook travel, request refunds and report lost luggage through a travel disruption portal on its website.

Other travelers also reported missing their cruise ship departures after canceled flights. One cruise ship, the Carnival Celebration, even slightly delayed its departure on Tuesday to give some passengers more time to arrive, according to the Cruise Hive blog. Hundreds of guests still missed the boat.

Have a news tip or travel story to share? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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