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Thu, Jan 18, 2024

Another Rough Week for Airline Cancellations

Despite Avoiding Large Scale Meltdowns of 2022, Carriers Still Caught Unprepared for Winter Weather

More than 1,700 flights were canceled and 3,700 delayed on January 16th, showing just how badly the Eastern region of the US was hit by winter weather.

Cancellations set a fresh record for some carriers, with more than 10,000 air carrier flights canceled since the preceding Friday. Flights from Texas all the way East left pax stranded all over, with things being muddled as already understaffed and short-fleeted airlines tried to fill gaps wherever they could. Alaska and United both remain additionally hampered by the suprise grounding of all their Boeing 737-9 MAX aircraft, after the former's high-profile in-flight decompression earlier this month. The change leaves passengers throughout the system wondering how they'll get home, particularly through hubs like LaGuardia and Newark, where special traffic conditions were required to deal with so many irregular delays.

Southwest, aiming to rid itself of the self-incurred problem child image it cultivated with its full-scale scheduling meltdown last year, took a moment earlier this month to talk about its "solid operational performance across many metrics". The company said it operated nearly 81,500 flights between December 20th and January 7th, thanks to 'operational investments that assisted in isolating effects' of the worst winter weather. They pointed out their performance through the days leading up to Christmas, noting that dense fog halted many flights from Chicago Midway, the "fourth-busiest airport in our network", while scarcely affecting the company's flight schedule to the tune of 1%. That wasn't a full preventative measure, however - hardly a week after publishing their holiday travel record, Southwest found itself canceling more than 760 flights. Long lines for de-icing services, cascading delays and cancellations for inclement weather all continue to take their toll.

FMI: www.southwest.com

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