After a winter storm roiled travel over the Christmas holiday weekend, flight cancellations in the thousands have pushed into the the week leading up to New Year’s Day.
Nearly 3,000 US flights have been canceled so far Tuesday, after more than 4,000 were canceled Monday and another nearly 5,000 were shut down Sunday, according to FlightAware.
Southwest Airlines’ travelers were the hardest hit, with the carrier cancelling 2,571 flights — or 63% of its schedule. That’s far more than any other airline globally Tuesday. The second greatest number of cancellations worldwide was flights through carrier China Eastern, with 638 shut down.
Earlier this week, Southwest CEO Bob Jordan called the disruptions “the largest-scale event that I’ve ever seen,” according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He added in the interview that the company would be operating at about one-third its typical schedule to get crews and aircraft into the right geographic positions. The reduced schedule was planned through Thursday and, Jordan said at the time, could be extended.
Southwest advisories this week have noted that the company was “uniquely affected” by Winter Storm Elliott, a massive system of snow and wind that has resulted in more than 50 deaths so far. In its latest advisory, updated Monday, Southwest said “continuing challenges are impacting our customers and employees in a significant way that is unacceptable.”
“Our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning,” the company added.