- Katie Demko was due to get married in Belize on December 30.
- But she told Insider she missed the wedding after Southwest canceled her Dec. 27 flight.
- Thousands of people have been stranded across the United States due to Southwestern holiday cancellations.
A bride says she ‘cried all morning’ on her wedding day after missing the event due to a canceled Southwest flight.
St. Louis bride Katie Demko and fiancé Michael have planned a wedding in Belize for Dec. 30, as she told Insider.
He went to Belize before Demko and she planned to fly southwest on December 27 with her children to join him, she told Insider. She also said she travels the South West frequently, taking the airline almost weekly for work.
But just before Demko’s flight was supposed to board, the captain announced that it had been cancelled. Demko told Insider that passengers were told the flight was missing three flight attendants.
She couldn’t find another flight for her and her children to get to Belize in time for the wedding.
“I had about seven travel agents and my whole family sat around for 18 hours trying to find a way to get us there,” she said. “We even considered flying to Cancun and getting a bus to take us to Belize. There was nothing.”
She also tried to swap tickets with friends who were leaving on December 28, but Southwest couldn’t make the change.
“I cried the whole morning of December 30,” Demko said.
Southwest reimbursed Demko’s flights and she was able to postpone many services she had purchased for the wedding, such as photography and decorations, although she did not receive a full refund. She will have to marry in Belize in the future to recoup the expenses.
But the resort where she and her guests planned to stay, Victoria House, cannot reschedule bookings or issue refunds, meaning Demko, her fiancé and their guests are losing thousands as a result of the cancellation.
“In total, it’s well over $70,000 lost in rooms at Victoria House,” she told Insider.
Demko is just one of thousands of Americans whose flights to the Southwest were canceled over the Christmas weekend amid storms and the airline’s operational collapse, as reported. describes the company’s CEO, Bob Jordan. The Southwest accounted for 50% of canceled flights globally on December 26, leaving customers stranded across the United States.
The chaos has led to countless stories like Demko’s, including a couple who missed their $4,000 honeymoon and a family who lost $7,000 and a trip to Tokyo because of their canceled flight.
Following the cancellations, Southwest released a statement saying the company had been “fully staffed and prepared” for the large number of vacations until the winter storm “forced changes to our flight schedules on a daily basis.”
“We recognize that we have failed and we sincerely apologize,” the statement continued.
But airline experts told Insider that Southwest’s staffing and a dated scheduling system also contributed to the chaos.
Demko told Insider that Southwest did not contact her, even after she appeared on CNN to discuss his experience on Dec. 29.
“Not once did Southwest try to contact me even to apologize,” she said, adding that she was particularly surprised at the lack of contact because she flies to Southwest so often. “I know they’re probably dealing with a ton because of all the mess, but not a single person from this company has reached out.”
Demko and her fiancé spent New Year’s Eve separated and single due to the debacle.
“On New Years Eve I sat at home and talked to Michael who was sitting in Belize and we said Happy New Year, knowing that we wouldn’t be ringing in 2023 as husband and wife like we are. we had hoped for,” she said.
Southwest did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.