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Southwest travel troubles continue at San Jose International Airport as travelers desperately search for rental cars


SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — Tens of thousands of travelers are still stranded, victims of the Southwest Airlines fiasco.

Thousands more flights have been canceled and the federal government is investigating what went wrong.

The Bay Area airport hardest hit by the collapse was San Jose International Airport.

As of Wednesday, there had been at least 147 cancellations and more than 20 delays.

MORE: If your flight to the Southwest was cancelled, here’s how to get your refund

A spokesperson said while most carriers have returned to normal, airlines in the South West continue to cancel the majority of their flights, which is expected to continue through at least Thursday.

Although things calmed down at the airline ticket counters, one of the busiest places at the airport was the rental car center, the last resort for many passengers.

Union City’s Greg McMurray and his family, like so many others, are caught up in the chaos caused by Southwest delays and cancellations. Her daughter visiting from Los Angeles for Christmas was due to fly out on Tuesday.

“At the last minute Southwest called us and said the flight had been cancelled,” McMurray said, “So we’re scrambling and trying to figure out how we’re going to get her home.”

MORE: Southwest ground workers call out unreasonable demands amid collapse

The family tried other means of transportation but came to nothing.

“We called bus stations, train stations, rental car places,” he said, “Avis was the only one that offered a one-way rental from the San Jose airport.”

But the time the family spent in line must have been even longer than that flight to Los Angeles would have been.

“We waited in line for about an hour,” McMurray said, “looks like we’ve got about another hour to go.”

MORE: What should I do if my baggage is delayed, lost or damaged?

San Jose International says that even though ticket lines are getting shorter at the airport, delays and cancellations still occur.

For many, the notifications don’t go through the most common channels, which travelers told ABC7 and even airport spokesman Scott Wintner, who was scheduled to fly southwest on Thursday.

“A few days ago I received an email telling me that my flight had been cancelled, but if you need to access the application now, it seems completely normal, as if I could take the plane tomorrow and clearly it’s not,” Winner said. “Definitely check a few sources, but check with your airline. Don’t just rely on push alerts, text messages and emails.”

For some, the headache lasted for days.

MORE: Texas couple choose to fly home 27 hours from Bay Area amid Southwest nightmare

ABC7 cameras first caught up with John Williams on Tuesday night, he was supposed to be at his home in Oregon on Christmas night and had been sleeping at the airport for two days.

Wednesday afternoon, he was still there, but things were finally getting better for him.

“Southwest put me in a motel for last night, which was nice and refreshing after sleeping on the floor for two days,” Williams said.

He was finally able to book a rental car and, like everyone else, braved the long queue to get that car and drive 10 hours home.

MORE: Southwest Airlines worker hands out snacks she bought to customers after days of canceled flights

Through it all, Williams, known as “Santa Claus” or “Santa’s Helper” to many, has somehow found a way to stay positive.

“It comes from all these positive kids running around and hugging me all season long,” Williams said.

For more information on Southwest Airlines flight status, click here.

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