(KTEN) —  Holiday season air travel is still a very real nightmare for thousands of travelers.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines had the most cancellations with almost 2,700 on Tuesday and another 2,500 on Wednesday.

According to FlightAware, Southwest's home base at Dallas Love Field tallied 102 of those cancellations on Tuesday and 101 more as of midday Wednesday.

The airline has already axed 2,348 scheduled flights on Thursday as it struggles to recover.

The brutal winter weather and lack of personnel both factored into what is being described as a "meltdown."

Heather Walker is stranded far from home, but she said she has an alternative return plan.

"It's frustrating, because we need to get home," she said. "I think we are in better shape than so many other people that are stranded in airports, haven't been able to get to where they were going for Christmas or home."

Airline security expert Dr. Sheldon Jacobson said Southwest didn’t know where its staffers were — and without the proper crews, it couldn’t get its aircraft off the ground.

“Planes out of position, crew out of position. And then they use their software to get it back up," Jacobson said. "The difficulty is that the software that Southwest is using does not use all of the current input in real time, and as a result, they started to guess where people were.”

He added that if Southwest had made a better investment in its technology, this passenger disaster could have been avoided.

“Any time you put garbage input into a computer model, you’re going to get garbage out. And ultimately, it shut down their system," Jacobson said. "It’s not a matter of slowing it down; they didn't know where people were, and they didn’t know how to schedule them. The other airlines were able to recover much more quickly.”

Jacobson expects this mishap to take a huge financial toll on Southwest, with losses in the millions. 

He said passengers caught up in the situation shouldn't take out frustrations on a gate agent… there’s nothing they can do.