Thousands of flights canceled as weather continues to upend holiday travel
Dec. 26, 2022 Updated Mon., Dec. 26, 2022 at 7:51 p.m.
Nearly 5,500 flights were canceled by late afternoon Monday as weather continued to trip up holiday travel while passengers attempted to make their way back home after Christmas.
According to FlightAware, a website that tracks airline delays and cancellations, 5,409 flights had been canceled as of 4:30 p.m., while more than 16,000 flights had been delayed.
On Friday, a storm spreading heavy snow, ice and severe cold temperatures across significant portions of the United States was to blame for more than 5,000 flight cancellations.
The storm also disrupted ground travel, with some long-distance and regional rail systems and bus lines canceling service while highway officials closed some roads because of unsafe conditions.
Southwest Airlines was heavily impacted on Monday, with nearly 2,700 flights – roughly two-thirds of the airline’s flights – canceled, according to FlightAware. Company officials said the weekend’s heavy storms forced service changes that required the repositioning of crew and air fleet to return Southwest to normal operations. The company said in a statement that it anticipates “additional changes with an already reduced level of flights as we approach the coming New Year holiday travel period.”
On Twitter on Monday, passengers shared photos and videos of long lines and large crowds at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.
BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean said airline workers were attempting to rebook stranded or delayed passengers.
“The airlines are working to accommodate their customers,” Dean wrote in an email.
Airline customer service centers were inundated with calls, leaving many passengers on hold for hours.
Southwest Airlines said in a tweet Monday that high call volumes were impacting its call centers. The airline urged passengers to check flight statuses online and to use Southwest’s website and mobile app to get more information and explore rebooking flights themselves.
Southwest officials said they were “fully staffed and prepared” for the holiday weekend. But the storm forced the airline to make major changes to its flight schedule.
“On the other side of this, we’ll work to make things right for those we’ve let down, including our Employees,” the airline said in its statement. “We recognize falling short and sincerely apologize.”
United Airlines canceled about 150 flights on Monday, the company said in a statement. United has waived flight change fees for travelers at several airports affected by the continuing weather delays.
In a statement, Delta Air Lines said cancellations continued Monday, even as the weather cleared, due to damage to airport infrastructure, frozen equipment and continued restrictions on some ground operations.
Airport officials urged travelers to arrive two hours early for departing domestic flights and three hours early for international travel.
“Inclement weather in recent days has impacted airline operations here at BWI Marshall Airport and at airports across the country,” BWI spokesman Shane Goad said. “As we have throughout the holiday travel season, we advise passengers to confirm flight status with their airline prior to heading to the airport.”
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