- Southwest AIrlines canceled thousands of flights on the day after Christmas.
- The Dallas-based airline accounted for almost 50% of all flight cancellations across the globe.
- The cancellations caused chaos at airports across the country, from Denver to Baltimore.
Southwest Airlines canceled over 2,700 flights the day after Christmas, more than any other US-based airline.
By 5 p.m. on December 26, Southwest had canceled 2,725 flights, or 67% of its total flights, according to FlightAware.
Thousands of flight delays and cancellations swept the U.S. over Christmas weekend as a deadly winter storm took effect, causing heavy snowfall and power outages in the Northeast.
By Monday night, the airports seeing the most cancellations included Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago Midway, and Dallas Love Field, where Southwest is headquartered.
Southwest canceled the most flights of any other airline based in the US on Monday, trailed by Delta, which canceled 262 flights, according to FlightAware. United canceled 133 flights. American Airlines canceled only 12 flights, though it recorded 792 delays, accounting for nearly a quarter of all flight delays worldwide on Monday.
One of every two flights canceled worldwide was a Southwest flight, as the airline’s network collapsed under the strain of the winter storm.
The cancellations led to chaotic scenes at airports across the country.
A reporter for 9News in Denver tweeted Monday afternoon that some travelers at Denver International Airport, where Southwest was responsible for hundreds of flight cancellations, had been stranded for days and that the line to rebook was over three hours long.
—Courtney Yuen (@courtyuen) December 26, 2022
Meanwhile, a reporter for ABC15 in Phoneix spoke with frustrated travelers at the Phoneix Sky Harbor International Airport as they learned that there would be no more scheduled Southwest Airlines flights for the next four days.
—Marc Thompson (@marcthompson) December 26, 2022
In Dallas, a spokesperson for TWU Local 556, the Southwest Airlines Flight Attendants Union, blasted the airline for not investing in the needed technological improvements to avoid massive travel disruptions amid its rapid expansion in the last several years.
—Brandon Richard (@BrandonLRichard) December 26, 2022