Southwest Airlines Under Fire After Thousands of Canceled Flights

Passengers queue up to check in at the counter for Southwest Airlines Monday, Jan. 3, 2022
David Zalubowski/AP

Thousands of Americans are still in the midst of holiday travel woes following a winter storm rocking the United States leading up to Christmas weekend, but Southwest Airlines is under fire for having one of the highest volumes of cancellations.

Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled across the country leading up to Christmas, and the trend is still not over. 

According to data from FlightAware, over 3,100 U.S.-related flights were canceled on Christmas Day, and over 7,800 were delayed. On Monday, as of 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, 2,990 flights were canceled, and 4,902 more were delayed. 

However, Southwest is emerging as one of the worst airlines in terms of cancellations and delays across the United States:

On Christmas Day, Southwest had 1,635 canceled flights, and as of 2 p.m. Monday, that figure stood at 2,163 canceled flights. This makes it one of the worst airlines in terms of cancellations and delays this holiday weekend. 

On Christmas, for instance, 20 percent of Southwest flights from Dallas Love Field Airport alone were canceled. The figure stood around 30 percent the two days prior. 

According to reports,  thousands were also stranded at the San Diego International Airport over the weekend, and most of those passengers were flying with Southwest. 

On Monday, Southwest cancellations continued at the Denver International Airport, with hundreds of flights delayed and canceled. According to the Denver Post, most of these flights are associated with Southwest:

The widespread cancellations came during a historic cold snap in Denver, with temperatures dropping well below zero. As of 11 a.m. Monday, 303 scheduled flights at Denver’s airport were delayed and another 331 canceled, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

Most of those problems affected flights on Southwest Airlines, which accounted for 293 of the canceled flights and 124 of the delayed flights, about 53% and 22% of the airline’s traffic through Denver Monday, according to FlightAware.

Chicago’s Midway International Airport is no exception. According to ABC7, Southwest is experiencing “the longest lines at ticketing.”

“We are re-accommodating as many customers as possible, based on available space, whose itineraries have been disrupted,”  a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said, according to ABC7.  “Those whose flights have been canceled may request a full refund or receive a flight credit, which does not expire.”

Southwest Airlines has also declared a state of “operational emergency.”


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