PHOTO STORY: Travelers at Eppley Airfield impacted by nationwide Southwest Airlines cancelations

Justin Diep, Editor in Chief

Hundreds of thousands of passengers were left stranded in airports across the county as the nation’s largest air carrier Southwest Airlines continues to cancel flights during the holiday travel season. The airline blames lingering effects of extreme winter weather across the country as well as issues with locating and assigning staff to flights after the winter weather passed.

“Our plan for the next few days is to fly a reduced schedule and reposition our people and planes, and we’re making headway and we’re optimistic to be back on track before next week,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordans said.

The CEO’s full statement can be watched here.

Both the Department of Transportation and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation says they will launch investigations into the airline. The Chair of the Committee, Senator Maria Catwell released this statement on Tuesday.

“The problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather. The Committee will be looking into the causes of these disruptions and its impact to consumers. Many airlines fail to adequately communicate with consumers during flight cancellations. Consumers deserve strong protections, including an updated consumer refund rule.”

“Southwest passengers have experienced unacceptable disruptions and customer service conditions,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a tweet. “I have made clear to their executives that our department will hold Southwest accountable for making things right with their customers and employee.”

Travelers who have been impacted by Southwest’s cancelations from Dec. 24. 2022 through Jan. 2, 2023, are able to rebook within 30 days of the original travel date between the original city pairs without any additional charges or be issued a refund. Southwest also says it will honor reasonable requests for reimbursement of meals, hotels and alternate transportation. Passengers can check out the Southwest Airlines website to get refunded or request reimbursements on incurred expenses.

As of Dec. 30, 2022, Southwest Airlines said it returned to its normal operations.