Holiday travel is notoriously hectic but for some Southwest airline travelers, it’s been downright horrible.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced it will be looking into the massive flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines that have left thousands of holiday travelers stranded.
The airline extended an apology to its customers on Monday for canceling over 2,700 flights — more than two-thirds of its schedule — over Christmas weekend. The cancellations were due to a winter snowstorm that caused widespread operational havoc throughout much of the U.S., and resulted in thousands of cancellations from various airlines.
While many airlines had to deal with the chaos the storm brought, no other airline canceled as many flights as Southwest, which has prompted DOT to probe the situation. DOT’s statement voiced concern over the “disproportionate and unacceptable rate” of Southwest’s cancellations and delays.
President Biden echoed the concerns in a tweet on Tuesday saying:
“Thousands of flights nationwide have been canceled around the holidays. Our Administration is working to ensure airlines are held accountable. If you’ve been affected by cancellations, go to @USDOT’s dashboard to see if you’re entitled to compensation.”
Thousands of flights nationwide have been canceled around the holidays.
Our Administration is working to ensure airlines are held accountable.
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 27, 2022
The popular airline agreed that its operations were unacceptable in its Monday statement saying, “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.”
The airline has made it clear that it could take some time to get operations back on track. Jay McVay, a Southwest spokesperson, shared additional insight during a press conference on Dec. 26. “With those cancellations and as a result, we end up with flight crews and airplanes that are out of place and not in the cities that they need to be in to continue to run our operations.”