BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Cancelled flights were the reality at hundreds of airports across the country this past Christmas holiday.

One of those passengers stuck in this mayhem was LSU sophomore Gavin Rogers. His mother, Stephanie Rogers says he was trying to get back from Denver to Baton Rouge before swim practice.

“It was delayed 17 times and then it was canceled,” said Stephanie Rogers.

“What we could only find at the time were prices that ranged from 1,500 and 2,500 dollars and it was going to take days to get back. Southwest actually told Gavin, when he went to go rebook at the airport that he should go rebook with a different carrier,” she said.

People and their luggage are stranded.

“I have spoken to Southwest representatives twice, and no one can tell me where his bags are,” said Stephanie.

Southwest Airlines’ meltdown brought more than 2,500 canceled flights. Officials say flights were dropped because of the winter storm and other operational challenges.

Cindy Chambers, manager at Pearson’s Travel World, says she’s never seen chaos like this since 9/11. She says it’s normal for bags to get shipped, even if you didn’t make it to your destination.

“Be patient,” said Chambers. “They are just pulling that tag that is supposed to go. The bags that have that tag, they’re sending them on.”

Southwest officials say they are trying to reunite bags with passengers.

While waiting on your luggage, Chambers provides the following tips:

  • Fill out their lost baggage form
  • Mark your luggage with something that stands out
  • Add trackers to your bag in the future
  • Check with your airline to see if they track your bag
  • If you purchased insurance, take that advantage

As for Gavin, he doesn’t know if he will ever see the Christmas presents left in his luggage.

“They are basically telling him they don’t know where his luggage is and that we should keep all his receipts for things he got for Christmas because, in all likelihood, we may have to file a claim,” said Stephanie.

Baton Rouge officials report their flights are 90% normal. Most residents facing trouble are coming from MSY in New Orleans.

Southwest Airlines says it expects to be back to normal operations on Friday. The U.S. Department of Transportation is looking into the meltdown.