Travelers become increasingly agitated in what they call ‘A Christmas Nightmare’ as airlines continue to cancel flights even after the celebrations. These continuous cancellations are consequential to the deterioration of the weather and the onset of the winter storm sweeping through the country. U.S. airlines have canceled an estimated more than 13,000 flights from Wednesday 21st of December to Monday, the 26th of the same month.
Dangerous weather conditions have caused thousands of flights to be delayed and canceled, disturbing holiday travel plans in one of the busiest periods of the year. With their plans disrupted due to weather concerns, many travelers are forced to review their holiday plans or remain stranded at different locations.
Major Storm Leads To Holiday Travel Disruptions Country-Wide
Beginning with blizzards, ice, and slush, the winter storm plaguing the U.S. has intensified. It has spread to major states in the country such as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Maine, even going as far as major regions in Canada. However, power outages and business closures are not the only things the storm brought with it.
The increasingly dangerous weather conditions have forced road closures, train delays, and even flight cancellations around the country. Country-wide, airlines are forced to suspend their services.
Many of the flight cancellations originated from airports such as Denver International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Boston Logan International Airport. Although airlines such as Spring Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines canceled and delayed only a few hundred flights, major airlines like Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights. This has left travelers frustrated with the disruption in their plans.
While many travelers ended up having to have their flights rescheduled, many others are stranded with equally large numbers missing their luggage. What travelers hoped would be an easy trip to their various holiday destinations ended up being one of the most problematic journeys of the season.
Flight Delays And Cancellations Enter Tens Of Thousands
As the winter storm continued to up-end, more airlines continued to cancel and delay flights. These airlines blamed frozen equipment, damage to airport infrastructure, and staffing issues for the problems.
Several of the airline flight cancellations began at the peak of the season, reaching a thousand cancellations by the 21st of December. The flight cancellations reached an all-time high of 10,000 the next day, December 22. This was 7000 more than the total number of flights canceled nationally from December 11 to 17.
Some airports that suffered the hardest from flight schedule disruptions were the Las Vegas, Denver, Baltimore, and Dallas airports. As of Thursday, 29th of December, Denver International canceled 13% and delayed 36% of its flights while Baltimore/Washington International canceled 30% and delayed 12% of its total flight.
Even after the celebrations, airlines continue to cancel flights at destination and origin airports. Some of the airlines with the most canceled and delayed flights from December 17 to 28 included:
- China Eastern
- Spring Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
While these airlines suffered considerable flight disruptions, Southwest Airlines’ usually organized schedules were thrown in complete disarray. The airline canceled about 70% of its total flights on Monday, 26th of December. Although Southwest Airlines blame staffing shortages and problems with its internal technology, the thousands of travelers made to sleep in airports and wait on the tarmac floors remain unimpressed by the airline’s lack of coordination, their spoiled holiday plans, and, in many cases, their missing luggage.
Solutions To The Travel Disruptions
While the impact of the frigid winter weather conditions on travel plans have significantly reduced, many airlines still find it difficult to settle into their normal routine and schedules. Flying challenges may be behind several airlines but airlines such as Southwest Airlines are still working to address and tackle their staffing issues. With hundreds of millions of people likely to travel during the busiest travel days of the holidays, airlines within the country are issuing flight waivers in advance of the storm’s impact.
Airlines are urging travelers to check their flight status and reschedule their flights when they can or if necessary. Other airlines are also offering incentives such as travel vouchers and urging affected travelers to submit their ticket receipts for consideration, or in Southwest’s case, “reimbursement for meals, hotel, and alternate transportation” as stated on the airline’s website.