Vacationers were left stranded after Southwest Airlines canceled two-thirds of its flights

After days of crippling winter weather over the Christmas weekend, thousands of Southwest Airlines flights were canceled, stranding vacationers across the United States.

More than 3,600 flights to and from the country were canceled on Monday, with an additional 6,120 flights delayed, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

Southwest Airlines alone canceled more than two-thirds of its scheduled flights — about 2,700 — as of 5 p.m. Monday. No other US airline has canceled so many of its flights.

Southwest canceled about 300 flights in the space of half an hour at one point Monday afternoon.

“With back-to-back days of extreme winter conditions on our network behind us, the continued challenges are having a significant impact on our customers and employees, which is unacceptable,” Southwest said in a statement Monday.

Thousands of travelers have been stranded across the country after Southwest canceled most of its flights.

“And our sincere apologies for that are just beginning.”

The airline, which is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 U.S. travel markets, said it was working to mitigate “large-scale disruption” by moving planes and members of crew where they are needed most.

PKBNEWS reported that the airports most affected by cancellations are Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago Midway, Baltimore/Washington and Dallas Love Field – where Southwest is based.

A Southwest Airlines plane flies over the United States Capitol before landing at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines plane Southwest Airlines lands at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia
Southwest called the delays and cancellations “unacceptable.”

Southwest said it is planning additional changes before the New Year’s travel period. The airline told PKBNEWS that “those whose flights have been canceled can request a full refund or receive a flight credit, which does not not expire”.

Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told the outlet it could be up to a week before flights return to normal.

“When there are over 10,000 flight cancellations over the past week, it takes time for airlines to work and readjust the backlog of travellers,” he said in an email.

“While it depends on the weather forecast (which looks promising for much of the country) and the number of travelers canceling their holiday plans, I expect that by next week things will be largely back to normal. to normal,” Keyes told me.

Travelers line up to reach Southwest Airlines check-in counters at Denver International Airport
The most affected airports are Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago Midway, Baltimore/Washington and Dallas Love Field – where Southwest is based.

On social media, customers have complained about long queues to speak to representatives as well as issues with lost luggage and excessive wait times or busy signals on the airline’s customer service lines.

Many travelers aren’t even able to reach a customer service agent to make changes. Southwest told PKBNEWS it was “full to answer calls,” but the outlet was unable to come through to speak with an agent.

Keyes said travelers were struggling to rebook their flights because there were already so few seats available during the popular holiday travel season between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Travelers line up to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter at Denver International Airport after a winter storm swept across the country with snow combined with arctic cold, creating chaos for people trying to reach their destinations before the Christmas holidays on Friday 23 December.
Travelers have complained about long lines and the inability to reach customer service agents.

Meanwhile in Buffalo, which was hit by snow and freezing cold over the weekend, the airport said it plans to reopen on Tuesday.

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