Southwest Airlines Christmas Cancellations Draw U.S. Inquiry

featured image

Ask any Southwest Airlines  (LUV) – Get Free Report holiday traveler, and they’ll tell you the airline deserved nothing but lumps of coal from Santa for Christmas. 

Extreme weather plagued holiday travelers across the country last week, delaying and stranding tens of thousands of passengers traveling to see their families and friends.

While the weather affected every major carrier in the U.S., Southwest Airlines’  (LUV) – Get Free Report performance over the weekend was so poor that the U.S. Department of Transportation said it would be opening an investigation into the airline. 

Southwest, for its part, says that it was fully staffed heading into the holiday weekend, but that its footprint in 23 of the 25 top travel markets made its flight schedule especially vulnerable. 

“Our Employees and Crews scheduled to work this holiday season are showing up in every single way. We are beyond grateful for that,” the company said in a statement.

“On the other side of this, we’ll work to make things right for those we’ve let down, including our Employees”

There were unconfirmed reports of people being on hold with the company’s customer-service reps for up to eight hours as they tried to reschedule their trips back home. 

Delayed and canceled flights hampered airports across the nation, with passengers on social media sharing the exact moment the travel dreams were dashed by Southwest Airlines.

National Air Travel Nightmare

While Southwest’s performance left a lot to be desired, it wasn’t the only airline struggling with cancellations and delays. 

On Monday alone, the first post-Christmas day of travel, more than 4,000 flights were canceled within, into, or out of the U.S., according to flight tracking website Flight Aware. 

Those cancellations were on top of 9,147 delays on flights within, into, or out of the U.S. 

But while the problem was more widespread than just Southwest Air, the airline accounted for about three-quarters of the U.S. cancellations on Sunday. More than 2,900 Southwest flights were canceled, accounting for 71% of the company’s entire flight schedule. 

Another 18% of its flights were delayed. 

Delta Airlines  (DAL) – Get Free Report was second with 276, or 9%, of its flights canceled. But the airline did see 1,024, or 35%, of its flights delayed on Monday. 

The situation Tuesday is on track to be even more hectic as there were nearly 3,000 cancellations in the U.S. before 10 am ET with another 1,442 delays. 

Southwest again was leading the pack with 2,523, or 62%, of flights canceled and another 147, or 3%, delayed. 

Extreme Weather the Source of the Delays

A massive winter storm that has dumped multiple feet of snow from Chicago to Buffalo, N.Y., is at the heart of the flight delays and cancellations. 

There were reports of wind gusts as high as 60 miles per hour to go along with the snow storm. 

In Buffalo alone, 43 inches of snow fell Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Erie County, where Buffalo is located, reported 16 weather-related fatalities from the storm, CNN reported.

At least 27 people in New York, and 60 people nationwide, have died as a result of the storm, according NBC News. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul called the storm the “blizzard of the century.”

Read More

Share on Google Plus
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


Post a Comment