Photo Credit: Photo by Oskar Kadaksoo
Ongoing Stress Following Mass Flight Delays And Cancellations Over Christmas Period
The so- called “most wonderful time of the year,” was anything but for passengers flying over the Christmas period. And the stress isn’t exactly abating.
Even with COVID still present, hundreds were eager to fly to other states to spend the holiday with loved ones. Airline travel can be stressful any time of year. But experts are saying that the hundreds of delays and cancellations over the Christmas weekend and beyond were “unprecedented.”
Several airlines reported issues, including Delta and Spirit Airlines. But Southwest Airlines had so many that The Department of Transportation (DOT) is investigating.
Southwest Airlines Is Being Investigated By DOT
Several carriers reported delays, but the lion’s share of them involved Southwest Airlines flights.
Alex Perez with Good Morning America, reported from O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Throngs of unhappy passengers were seen moving behind him.
“Frustrated passengers are stuck at airports across the country,” he said. “The return home from Christmas for many has become a flat out nightmare.”
DOT expressed “concern with Southwest Airline’s unacceptable rates of cancellations, delays and reports of a lack of prompt customer service.”
Passengers Were Furious
3,800 flights were cancelled on Monday, and 73% of them were Southwest flights, according to Good Morning America.
Today doesn’t look much brighter for Southwest customers. 2,500 flights have been cancelled at the time of this reporting.
Kara Dyrek told GMA, “they said no one is getting on a Southwest flight for four days. They said we can’t help you, go home.”
“Christmas was just ruined,” said another, unnamed woman. “This was the worst Christmas ever.”
On the loudspeaker at one airport, a Southwest employer announced, “unfortunately, our next available seats for re-booking are on the 31st and beyond.”
The carrier chartered buses for some passengers. One bus departed Raleigh and went to Nashville- roughly an 8 hour journey.
According to The Hill, as of December 26, “Delta Air Lines canceled 483 flights, or 24 percent of its departures on Christmas Day, while Spirit Airlines canceled 207, or 25 percent, of its flights scheduled for Sunday.”
Extreme Weather Played A Huge Role
Much of the country was unable to weather the severe storms and frigid temperatures these last few days.
The Hill reported that 12 people died after 43 inches of snow covered Buffalo. There were also deaths in Colorado.
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, Jay McVay, told the press that the intensity of the storm was the chief culprit.
“I think it’s just the sheer size of the storm,” he said. “It’s just the fact that this one started West, swept East, and impacted almost every single one of our largest airports. We struggled to get our flight crews and airplanes where they needed to be.”