Videos Show Chaos After Southwest Cancels Majority Of Post-Holiday Flights

By Jason Hall

December 27, 2022

Southwest cancels more than 2,800 flights
Photo: Getty Images

Several videos shared online showed chaos at various airports after Southwest Airlines canceled the majority of its post-Christmas Day flights.

The videos showed passengers and luggage overcrowding airport terminals amid massive cancelations that took place as the busy holiday weekend coincided with Winter Storm Elliott.

Southwest canceled more than 70% of its flights on Monday (December 26) and more than 60% on Tuesday (December 27), according to the Associated Press.

The airline also warned that it would operate with just over a third of its usual schedule in the coming days to allow crews to return to their designated areas.

"With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable," Southwest Airlines said in a news release shared on Tuesday. "And our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning.

"We’re working with Safety at the forefront to urgently address wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning Crews and our fleet ultimately to best serve all who plan to travel with us.

"We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent, where Southwest is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S. These operational conditions forced daily changes to our flight schedule at a volume and magnitude that still has the tools our teams use to recover the airline operating at capacity."

More than 2,945 flights within, into or out of the U.S. have already been canceled as of 11:45 a.m. ET on Tuesday, with Southwest accounting for 2,548, according to FlightAware.

American, United, Delta and JetBlue also experienced cancellation rates amid the historic winter storm, however, no other airline exceeded a rate above 2%.

The U.S. Department of Transportation referred to Southwest's massive cancellations as "disproportionate and unacceptable" and is monitoring the situation to make sure the airline sticks to its obligations to stranded customers.

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