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Secretary Pete Buttigieg AWOL as Massive Southwest Airlines Cancellations Create Holiday Travel Hell Across Nation

Secretary Pete Buttigieg AWOL as Massive Southwest Airlines Cancellations Create Holiday Travel Hell Across Nation

 Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has been silent as a meltdown by Southwest Airlines on Sunday and Monday has stranded thousands of holiday travelers across the country. Southwest canceled two-thirds of its flights Monday (at least 2,675 canceled), preceded Sunday by 42 percent canceled flights and 48 percent delayed flights. The massive cancellations are exclusive to Southwest, other are operating normally.

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On Saturday, Buttigieg tweeted that the worst of the weather delays were over for the holiday weekend, “Severe weather across the country led to more than 20% of flights being canceled yesterday. Impacts continue today but FAA expects that the most extreme disruptions are behind us as airline and airport operations gradually recover.”

Buttigieg’s only tweet Monday as of early evening is about Kwanzaa, “To those who observe, wishing you a bright and meaningful Kwanzaa.” 

Airline cancellations as of mid-day Monday:

A sample of Southwest Airlines travel hell:

WJLA-TV reporter Kevin Lewis, “I’m a loyal Southwest Airlines customer. I’ve never experienced anything like today’s meltdown. •no email, text or call about my canceled flight •1-800-IFLY-SWA has had a busy tone for 5+ hours •the SWA app/website won’t let me to modify my itinerary •no answer to Twitter DM…I’m trying to fly from Chicago to BWI, DCA, or IAD. •Amtrak’s sold out •rental cars are sold out •Other airlines’ one-way flights start at $519, and there is no guarantee Southwest would cover that cost Delays and cancellations are inevitable but this is next-level disorder.”


Washington, D.C.:





Southwest Airlines released a statement Monday evening on the delays:

Southwest Airlines Working to Recover from Operational Challenges: Update 6 – Dec 26, 2022
With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable.

And our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning.

We’re working with Safety at the forefront to urgently address wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning Crews and our fleet ultimately to best serve all who plan to travel with us.

We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent, where Southwest is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S. These operational conditions forced daily changes to our flight schedule at a volume and magnitude that still has the tools our teams use to recover the airline operating at capacity.

This safety-first work is intentional, ongoing, and necessary to return to normal reliability, one that minimizes last-minute inconveniences. We anticipate additional changes with an already reduced level of flights as we approach the coming New Year holiday travel period. And we’re working to reach to Customers whose travel plans will change with specific information and their available options.

Our Employees and Crews scheduled to work this holiday season are showing up in every single way. We are beyond grateful for that. Our shared goal is to take care of every single Customer with the Hospitality and Heart for which we’re known.

On the other side of this, we’ll work to make things right for those we’ve let down, including our Employees.

With no concern higher than ultimate Safety, the People of Southwest share a goal to take care of each and every Customer. We recognize falling short and sincerely apologize.

UPDATE: Southwest has already canceled nearly 2,500 flights scheduled for Tuesday.

Flights are being rescheduled for next weekend:

The Department of Transportation posted a brief statement of concern that does nothing to help stranded travelers. Nothing from Secretary Pete.

“USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service. The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”

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