Southwest Airlines has apologized for operational problems that caused long delays at Los Angeles International Airport and other airports across the country in the days after Christmas because of a strong winter storm. The airline says it is working to get back on track.
Southwest said in a news release on Monday, “After days of extreme winter weather across our network, we are still facing challenges that are affecting our customers and employees in a big way that is unacceptable.” “We are putting safety first as we work quickly to fix a large-scale problem by rebalancing the airline and repositioning crews and our fleet. This will help us serve everyone who plans to travel with us in the best way possible. And we’re sorry from the bottom of our hearts for this.”
FlightAware says that Southwest cancelled more than 2,900 flights on Monday, which is more than 70% of its total schedule.
Doug, one of the travellers stuck at LAX, told FOX 11 that Southwest has “taken away the ability to book a flight until January 1.”
On the Southwest Airlines website, there are no flights leaving or arriving at LAX for different places until December 31.
The unhappy traveller told FOX 11’s Laura Diaz on Monday night that the airline couldn’t rebook him or her until New Year’s Eve, which he or she didn’t like.
Southwest Airlines stock fell on Tuesday after the airline cancelled thousands of flights over the holiday travel weekend and said it would cancel more in the coming days.
FlightAware, a website that keeps track of flights, says that as of Tuesday at noon, the airline had cancelled nearly 2,600 flights across the country. Many of these flights were from Los Angeles International Airport and other airports in Southern California.
As of Tuesday night, all airlines had cancelled a total of 62 flights leaving LAX, and 148 flights were running late.
Some flights were still leaving from LAX, John Wayne Airport, Hollywood Burbank Airport, and Long Beach Airport, but passengers were told to check flight times.
As of Tuesday evening, 52 flights leaving John Wayne Airport had been cancelled. This included flights from airlines other than Southwest. 43 flights from Burbank and 32 flights from Long Beach had also been cancelled.
At airports all over the country, hundreds of bags are piling up at terminals, and many people say it took them days to get their luggage.
The airline said at the end of last week that it had enough workers and was ready for the Christmas weekend, even though bad weather was moving across the continent.
Southwest said, “This forced us to change our flight schedule every day in such a way that our teams still don’t have all the tools they need to get the airline back to full capacity.” “This safety-first work is planned, ongoing, and needed to get back to normal reliability, which means there will be fewer last-minute problems.”
Southwest said it expected “additional challenges with a reduced number of flights as we approach the coming New Year’s holiday travel period, and we are working to reach out to customers whose travel plans will change with specific information and their available options.”
Southwest Airlines added to its staff and crews “are being seen in every way. We can’t thank you enough for that. Our goal as a team is to take care of each and every customer with the kindness and care that we are known for. On the other hand, we will work to make things right with those we’ve hurt, like our employees.”
Southwest sent a statement to FOX 11 that included the following: “On the other hand, we’ll do our best to make things right with those we’ve hurt, including our Employees. People who work for Southwest have one goal: to take care of each and every Customer. Safety is their top priority. We know we’ve fallen short, and we’re sorry.”
The Department of Transportation said that the “unacceptable rate of cancellations” was a cause for concern. The department said it will check to see if cancellations could be stopped and if Southwest is following its plan for customer service.