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Southwest Airlines Provides Update Amid Surge in Christmas Travel

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Southwest Airlines Provides Update Amid Surge in Christmas Travel

(CTN News) – Southwest Airlines reassured that its operations are currently in a “healthy and stable” state, despite the recent flight cancellations and delays that occurred over the weekend and on Christmas Day.

In an email statement to Newsweek, a Southwest spokesperson stated that they do not anticipate any significant disruptions for Tuesday and that they have all their employees working diligently to ensure the safety and satisfaction of their customers during this busy holiday travel season.

According to FlightAware data, two Southwest Airlines were canceled on Tuesday morning, one bound for Burbank, California, and another heading to Denver International Airport. Additionally, 15 percent of the airline’s total flights, which amounts to at least 688 flights, experienced delays on Tuesday.

To prevent a recurrence of the delays and cancellations that caused chaos at the end of 2022, Southwest Airlines and other airlines took proactive measures by hiring thousands of pilots, flight attendants, and other staff members, as reported by The Associated Press.

It is important to mention that in the previous month, the United States Department of Transportation imposed a $140 million penalty on Southwest due to operational issues that resulted in the cancellation of thousands of flights and left over 2 million travelers stranded during the Christmas season in 2022.

Southwest Airlines attributed the recent disruptions to dense fog in the Chicago area. Over the holiday period, the airline canceled 426 flights on Saturday and Sunday, while nearly 2,690 flights experienced delays.

On Christmas Day, 110 flights were canceled, accounting for 2 percent of the airline’s total flights, and 913 flights were delayed.

The airline spokesperson specifically mentioned that the fog in Chicago prevented planes from landing at Midway International Airport, which is Southwest Airlines fourth busiest hub.

The spokesperson stated that Midway, our fourth busiest airport operation, has more than 200 departures scheduled per day over the holiday weekend.

However, due to dense fog in Chicago starting on Saturday and lasting until Sunday, we had to cancel around 100 flights on Monday and 300 flights on Sunday across our entire system (out of a total of approximately 4,300 flights). Currently, we are back to operating a normal schedule at Chicago Midway and throughout our network. We have a fully staffed team, all gates are open, and we anticipate no further challenges.

According to forecasters, travel conditions on Tuesday Southwest Airlines are expected to be hazardous in certain parts of the country.

The National Weather Service has issued a warning that a combination of heavy snow and strong winds will create blizzard conditions in areas of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming, making travel extremely difficult, if not impossible.

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