Southwest Airlines cancels hundreds and delays thousands of holiday weekend flights – Fortune

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has struggled with delays and cancellations. Getty Images

Conditions were mostly good for travelers flying before and on Christmas this year, but some unpleasant disruptions plagued those flying Southwest Airlines.

For millions of people who traveled over the holidays, this year was much better than last. Christmas morning was the culmination of a relatively smooth weekend.

As of late Monday afternoon, only 157 flights within, to or from the United States were canceled and 2,111 were delayed, according to tracking website FlightAware.

This holiday season, U.S. airlines prepared for massive travel influxes by hiring thousands of pilots, flight attendants and other workers – to avoid the delays and cancellations that plagued travel in 2022 and culminated in the Southwest Airlines debacle. which brought more than 300,000 passengers to a standstill 2 million people.

Nevertheless, Southwest experienced problems again over the weekend, which the airline wanted to resolve by Monday. Only 2% of the airline’s flights were canceled Monday, although 16% were delayed, totaling 693 flights, according to FlightAware.

On Saturday and Sunday, Southwest canceled 426 flights and delayed 2,689 flights, FlightAware data showed.

A Southwest spokesman blamed the problems on thick fog in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday that prevented planes from landing and said some additional cancellations may be necessary on Monday before a full recovery is expected on Tuesday.

The AAA car club predicted that 115 million people in the United States would travel at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home by plane or car between Saturday and New Year’s Day. That is 2% more than in the previous year.

More than 2.6 million people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Thursday, according to TSA records. Data from the weekend has yet to be released.

A record number of people traveled through U.S. airports on Thanksgiving, surpassing pre-COVID-19 numbers in 2019. On Sunday, November 26, 2.9 million people were screened by the TSA.

Compared to last year’s holiday season, the milder weather helped keep flight schedules on time.

But locally, road conditions on Christmas Day were dangerous in parts of the country as snow and ice accumulated in the Midwest and Great Plains. According to the National Weather Service, most of Nebraska and South Dakota experienced snowstorms and parts of eastern North and South Dakota experienced ice storms.

According to traffic data provider INRIX, the busiest days on the road are expected to be Saturday, December 23rd and next Thursday, December 28th.