Thanks to some disastrous winter storms across the country, many travelers had their holiday plans disrupted. CNN reported that Southwest Airlines, in particular, faced a series of challenges that involved numerous delays and outright cancellations of flights. Now, the airline is speaking out amid the holiday madness.
As of Monday, around 3,800 flights going into or out of the USA have been canceled. Meanwhile, more than 7,100 other flights have been delayed. Southwest Airlines has been one of the worst offenders, as no other US carrier has canceled as many flights as they have. To date, the airline has already canceled almost 2,800 flights, more than two-thirds of its total. On Monday afternoon alone, Southwest canceled around 300 flights in the span of a half hour. Unfortunately, the cancellations are only set to continue. As of Monday evening, Southwest has canceled around 1,600 flights that were scheduled for Tuesday. For context, 1,760 Tuesday flights have been canceled amongst all carriers so far, Southwest's chunk of those cancellations included.
Southwest Airlines released a statement to CNN on Monday in which they shared that they are "experiencing disruptions across our network as a result of (the winter storm's) lingering effects on the totality of our operation." CNN also pointed out which airports have been the most heavily affected by Southwest's schedule changes, naming Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago Midway, Baltimore/Washington, Dallas Love Field, and Phoenix Sky Harbor. The airlines later released another statement in which they acknowledged the "challenges" that the winter storms have caused.
"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 statement read. "We're working with Safety at the forefront to urgently address wide-scale disruption. ... On the other side of this, we'll work to make things right for those we've let down, including our Employees." While there has been much talk about delays and cancellations and how they have affected customers, airline employees are feeling the brunt of these issues.
Lyn Montgomery, the president of the union that represents Southwest employees, described the employer as "despicable" for how flight crews have been treated amid this ordeal. Montgomery said, "We know the demands of holiday travel. We know winter storms. And believe me, we know about stepping up and putting in long work hours when we are called to do so; we are flight attendants. Their statement continued, "But at this point, the many years of failure by management, despite many unions' demands to modernize, has left flight attendants fatigued, stranded, hungry and cold -- on Christmas! This impacts lives and threatens safety for all." Due to what they have described as "failures," customers and flight crews alike have been struggling during the holiday season.