Airlines cancel 17,000 flights due to severe winter weather but disruptions ease

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The aircraft is being de-iced at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.


Flight cancellations eased further on Monday, but turmoil from severe winter weather across the United States remained at the end of the Christmas weekend.

Airlines have canceled more than 17,000 US flights since Wednesday, according to FlightAware. Storms brought snow, ice, high winds and bitter cold across the country, disrupting air travel from coast to coast. These conditions slowed the ground crew as they faced harsh conditions at the airport.

The carriers may detail the costs of the disruption when they report results next month, or sooner.

Southwest Airlines The company’s chief operating officer told staff that winter storms during vacations, as well as unexpected fog in San Diego and shortages at Denver’s fuel supplier, have hit particularly hard. Told.

Southwest Airlines has been aggressively canceling many flights to stabilize operations, said COO Andrew Watterson. About a quarter of Southwest Airlines’ flights were canceled Wednesday through Saturday, and two-thirds were delayed, according to FlightAware data.

The airline has apologized to its employees for the confusion. This has caused many to struggle to obtain crew scheduling services, making it difficult to reassign or otherwise change or secure hotel rooms. Provided flight attendants who work beyond.

Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a message to staff on Sunday, “Part of what we struggle with is a lack of tools.” , we’ve talked about so many things. Crew scheduling is one of the places where we need to invest, we need to be able to create solutions faster.”

Airlines often proactively cancel flights during bad weather to avoid moving planes, crew and customers, which can make recovering from a storm more difficult.

Airlines also planned to shorten their schedules on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day compared to the days before the holidays, which made it difficult to rebook travelers on other flights, resulting in a surge in bookings. did.

Passengers check in at a Delta Air Lines counter at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan, December 22, 2022.

Jeff Kowalski | AFP | Getty Images

More than 1,700 flights were canceled and another 2,200 delayed on Monday. This is down from about 3,200 canceled flights and 7,700 US flight delays on Sunday.

delta airlines, american airlines, united airlines, jetblue airlines When Alaska Airlines was one of the other airlines affected by the weather.

An American Airlines spokeswoman said, “The majority of customers affected by the cancellation have been able to stay overnight.”

A Delta Air Lines spokeswoman said Monday that “our operations are recovering steadily and we expect continued improvement over the next few hours.”

However, passengers also faced luggage delays.

Bill Weaver, 41, traveled from Wichita, Kansas to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport with his wife and five children for Friday’s flight to Cancun after a connecting flight to American Airlines’ hub was cancelled. Our American Airlines flight to Cancun arrived on time, but our luggage didn’t arrive in Cancun until Monday, and we didn’t arrive at our hotel by mid-morning, so we hadn’t packed our clothes and other items. had to spend hundreds of dollars to buy the necessities of their hotel.

Weaver, who works in software sales, said he used to travel a lot.

“I’m used to things happening when I lose my bag, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Extreme cold and high winds slowed ground operations at dozens of airports. According to FlightAware, more than half of U.S.-based airline flights were delayed Thursday through Saturday, with an average delay of 81 minutes.

“The temperatures have dropped so low that equipment and infrastructure have been affected, from frozen chiller systems and fuel hoses to broken tow bars,” United Airlines said in a message to pilots on Saturday. The pilot encountered a frozen lock while attempting to re-enter the jet bridge after performing a walkaround.”

The FAA said it had to evacuate a tower at United Hub Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey because of Saturday’s leaks.

Meanwhile, JetBlue offered triple pay for flight attendants to pick up the trip on Christmas Eve due to a staff shortage.

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