OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 12:20 PM PT – Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Southwest Airlines has cancelled and delayed flights in the recent days, prompting a response from the Biden administration.
As cascading airline delays have impacted holiday travel across the nation, President Joe Biden has advised consumers on Tuesday to see if they qualify for compensation.
According to airline tracking website FlightAware, Southwest canceled 2,886 flights on Monday, which accounted for 70% of the planned flights, in addition to cancelling 48% on Sunday. Additionally, 60%, or more than 2,400, of its scheduled flights for Tuesday have already been canceled. Currently, the airlines say that travellers stranded by holiday meltdown cannot rebook until December 31st.
The cancellations, delays, and customer service response were deemed “unacceptable” by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan,” USDOT said.
After weather delays, Southwest employees were confronted with the exceedingly difficult task of organizing staffing and scheduling.
Pictures and videos of overcrowded baggage claim areas and lengthy waits at reservation counters are being shared by travelers.
According to sources, Southwest’s customer service phone line had average hold times of more than two hours and occasionally even four hours.
Southwest’s spokesperson Chris Perry explained that the winter storm’s after effects are to blame for the airline’s delays, and that the company intends to “stabilize and improve its operation” when the weather improves.
This comes just as major airlines have been trying to make a recovery after the COVID pandemic keep up with the travel demands during the holidays.