Southwest Airlines slashed one other 2,500 flights on Wednesday, sending more frustrated customers scrambling to seek out seats on other airlines.
The Dallas-based carrier’s cuts amounted to 60% of its schedule and nearly 90% of overall cancellations within the U.S. on Wednesday, marking one other day of disruptions whilst weather conditions and operations at other airlines improved.
Near 60% of Southwest flights were already canceled for Thursday. It scrubbed lower than 1% of the schedule for Friday, however the carrier still has to accommodate the 1000’s of travelers left stranded by its meltdown.
Airlines have canceled 1000’s of flights since last week when severe winter weather roiled holiday travel across the U.S., but Southwest’s outsized disruptions have drawn scrutiny from the Biden administration and lawmakers. Southwest has blamed its performance on its internal technology platforms that were overloaded by schedule changes.
That forced pilots and flight attendants to achieve out to scheduling services by phone for brand spanking new assignments, hotels and other accommodations. Hold times lasted hours, crews and unions said.
“There are hoards of Teams working on solutions immediately and have been for days and days,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a staff message on Tuesday. “Ultimately, though, this stops with me. I’m accountable for this and I own our issues and I own our recovery. I would like you to know that as well.”
To assist stranded travelers, Delta Air Lines said Wednesday that it “capped fares in all of the markets Southwest operates” and that the fares are valid through Saturday. American Airlines said it did so in “cities severely affected by cancellations” and United Airlines said it has capped fares in “select cities.”
Alaska Airlines said it was lowering fares in certain markets.
The airlines didn’t provide further details. The moves got here after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urged other carriers to cap fares.
Southwest said it could reimburse travelers for “reasonable” hotel, meal and alternative transportation expenses if customers submit receipts.
Tens of 1000’s of passengers were also scuffling with luggage lost within the chaos. Southwest allows travelers to ascertain two bags totally free, unlike other carriers, which charge for checked luggage.
Southwest shares have tumbled nearly 11% up to now this week, twice as much as its rivals.
Frustrations for travelers trying to seek out their way home were heightened since the scarcity of of spare seats on other airlines throughout the busy holiday period.
Airlines will routinely limit last-minute fares, that are generally high and sometimes coincide with limited seats, during emergencies like hurricanes so travelers can evacuate.