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

Aircraft de-icing at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee


Flight cancellations eased on Monday but disruptions from harsh winter weather across the United States until Christmas weekend.

Airlines have canceled more than 17,000 flights in the US since Wednesday, according to FlightAware, as storms brought snow, ice, high winds and extreme cold across the country, derailing flights from the coast from one coast to another. Those conditions slowed ground crews as they faced harsh conditions at airports.

Carriers are likely to detail the cost of the disruption when they report results next month, if not sooner.

Southwest Airlines was particularly hard hit by winter storms during the holiday travel period, along with other problems including sudden fog in San Diego and staff shortages at a fuel supplier in San Diego. Denver, the airline’s chief executive officer, told employees.

COO Andrew Watterson said Southwest has proactively canceled many flights in an effort to stabilize its operations. From Wednesday to Saturday, about a quarter of Southwest flights are canceled and two-thirds delayed, according to FlightAware data.

The airline has apologized to staff for the chaos, which has left many struggling to get crew scheduling services, making reassignments or other changes or hotel check-ins difficult. should be more difficult. Southwest also pays more for flight attendants who work during the holiday.

Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a message to employees on Sunday: “Part of what we’re suffering from is a lack of tools. “We’ve talked a lot about modernizing operations and the need to do that. And Crew Planning is one of the areas where we need to invest. We need to be able to do that. deliver solutions faster.”

Airlines often proactively cancel flights during bad weather to avoid space shortages for planes, crews and customers, problems that can make recovery from storms more difficult.

Carriers are also planning smaller schedules for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day than the days before the holiday, making it harder for them to rebook travelers on other flights and bookings have increased mutation.

Passengers check in at the Delta counter at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan, on December 22, 2022.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | beautiful pictures

On Monday, more than 1,700 flights were canceled and another 2,200 delayed, down from nearly 3,200 canceled and 7,700 delayed US flights on Sunday.

Delta Airlines, American Airlines, unified airline, Blue Airways Jets and alaska airline are among other carriers affected by the weather.

An American Airlines spokesman said “the majority of our customers impacted by flight cancellations were able to be rescheduled.”

A Delta spokesman said Monday that “our operations are in a steady recovery and expect improvements to continue over the next several hours.”

However, passengers also face delayed baggage.

Bill Weaver, 41, said he, his wife and five children drove from Wichita, Kansas to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport for a Friday flight to Cancun after their connecting flight arrived at the heart of Dallas. American Airlines is cancelled. The American Airlines flight to Cancun arrived on time, but their luggage didn’t reach Cancun until Monday, and by mid-morning still hadn’t arrived at the hotel, so they had to spend hundreds of dollars buying clothes and accessories. other essentials at their hotel.

Weaver, who works in software sales, says he travels often.

“I’m used to losing my bag and a lot of things happen but this is the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Extreme cold and high winds slowed ground activity at dozens of airports. According to FlightAware, more than half of flights by US-based airlines arrived late Thursday through Saturday, with an average delay of 81 minutes.

“Temperatures have dropped so low that our equipment and infrastructure has been affected, from frozen lav systems and fuel pipes to broken towbars,” United Airlines said in a message to customers. pilot on Saturday. “The pilots encountered frozen locks when trying to re-enter the jet bridge after proceeding to walk around.”

The FAA said it had to evacuate its tower at Newark Liberty International Airport, United’s hub in New Jersey because of a leak on Saturday.

Meanwhile, JetBlue offered to pay flight attendants triple the salary to catch flights on Christmas Eve due to staff shortages.

An inside look at how the FAA and airlines deal with bad weather


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