Southwest Airlines cancels practically 1,500 flights, stranding vacationers across the state

Southwest Airlines plane landing
Photograph (c) John M. Chase – Getty Illustrations or photos

Southwest Airlines might have escaped big cancellations from New Year’s weekend, but it’s in the incredibly hot seat now. The price reduction provider pulled 658 flights off the board on Thursday, in accordance to FlightAware. A further 519 were canceled on Friday, and there are a different 230 cancellations predicted for Saturday and 19 for Sunday.

In an e mail to ConsumerAffairs, a Southwest spokesperson spelled out that “ongoing personnel challenges” – most likely coronavirus-related sick calls from employees – and temperature “disruptions” at main operation destinations have been the trigger of the cancellations. The temperature scenario is not probably to change before long, with winter season storm Garrett continuing to generate vacation challenges as it blankets pieces of the mid-South and Northeast with snow. 

Southwest doesn’t look to be the only airline that is canceling flights. United, American, SkyWest, JetBlue, Alaska Airways, Endeavor, and Delta have canceled 1,078 flights on Friday. FlightAware’s estimates display that United and SkyWest have named off 234 flights on Saturday and a different 39 on Sunday. Having said that, all those quantities could alter promptly since airways have to shuffle schedules when weather conditions situations change or employees connect with in unwell.

What travelers can do about canceled flights

Whilst flight cancellations can upset someone’s journey programs, the governing administration has protections in put to maintain buyers from getting rid of the price of their tickets.

“In the face of the run of cancellations and delays we have been looking at because just ahead of Xmas, the biggest factor passengers need to hold in head is that, below federal law, if an airport cancels or substantially alters their itinerary and they decide on not to fly, they are owed a total refund in their unique type of payment, regardless of the explanation for the cancellation or improve,” Willis Orlando, Scott’sCheapFlights Senior Product Operations Professional, told ConsumerAffairs.

Airlines would almost certainly rather have a traveler choose a voucher so they really do not shed any challenging income, but it’s certainly worthy of your although to connect with or textual content a buyer assistance agent and claim your funds refund if flight cancellations result in you to miss out on your journey.  

“In conditions of when this may possibly conclusion, it is difficult to forecast with Omicron, but we do count on weather allowing, as we get into the 2nd half of January and passenger numbers fall off from their holiday getaway highs, that we ought to see airways transfer into a better posture to regulate staffing and schedules to stave off any even further mass delays,” Orlando claimed.

While Southwest has a slew of ailments when it comes to utilizing vouchers, travelers can often be blindsided by a time period they didn’t expect. Lynne, of Honolulu, Hawaii, lately advised us that she experienced an unpleasant shock when reserving a new flight. 

“If your Southwest ticket was afflicted from the pandemic and the expiration date was extended to 9/2022, beware as as soon as you purchase a ticket now with your vacation cash from the canceled pandemic flight, and then come to a decision that you have to alter that ticket, your expiration will be only about 15 days from the day you terminate the new flight,” Lynne wrote in a ConsumerAffairs assessment.

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