The day after Christmas, Southwest Airlines canceled more flights than any other US-based airline—nearly 3,000. According to FlightAware, by 8:30 p.m. on December 26, Southwest canceled 2,877 flights, or 70% of all of its flights worldwide.
Over the Christmas holiday, a catastrophic winter storm that brought heavy snowfall and power outages to the Northeast caused thousands of airline delays and cancellations across the nation.
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Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago Midway, and Dallas Love Field—home to Southwest—were the airports with the most cancellations as of Monday night.
Southwest had the most flight cancellations on Monday of any US-based airline, followed by Delta with 265 flight cancellations. 135 United flights were cancelled. Only 12 flights were cancelled by American Airlines, but the company experienced 792 delays on Monday, which was roughly a fourth of all flight delays globally.
Due to the strain of the winter storm on the airline’s network, one out of every two flights globally had to be cancelled.
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At airports across the nation, the cancellations brought quite tumultuous situations. A representative of TWU Local 556, the Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Union, criticized the airline in Dallas for failing to make the necessary technological advancements in the wake of its explosive growth over the past few years.
In a statement Monday night, Southwest apologised for the delays, calling them “unacceptable. “Customers should anticipate a “limited number of flights” in the weeks coming up to the New Year as the airline strives to resume normal operations, according to the airline, which blamed the cancellations on the extreme weather.
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Southwest admitted that its staff had also suffered as a result of the flight cancellations and said it is working to inform passengers whose flights may be affected by the modifications. On the other hand, the statement promised that “we’ll endeavour to put things right for those we’ve let down, particularly our Employees.”