Southwest Airlines has been criticized by lawmakers for a slew of recent flight cancellations.

This holiday season, a nasty cold front with snow and subfreezing temperatures blanketed the nation. Legislators are calling for monitoring even though the airline is now implementing a reset by transferring staff and empty planes across the nation to put crews appropriately.

Southwest is not the only airline that has experienced significant cancellations due to this widespread annoyance. Still, due to the weather and a purported system failure, Southwest had to cancel at least 70% of its flights on Monday. Tuesday saw a 62% cancellation rate for the airline. According to information from FlightAware, 42% of Southwest’s flights were canceled and 48% were delayed on Christmas Day, which was awful news for holiday travelers.

Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, stated on Tuesday that her panel will look into the reasons behind the cancellations of Southwest flights because “the problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather.” The Committee will investigate the reasons behind these disruptions and their effects on consumers. Many airlines fall short in their efforts to inform passengers of flight cancellations. Strong consumer protections, such as an updated consumer refund rule, are due to consumers.

The Biden administration has intervened as a result of the numerous cancellations. The Transportation Department responded, “We are disturbed with Southwest’s unacceptable number of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of fast customer assistance,” while President Joe Biden said, “Administration is working to ensure airlines are held accountable.” We’ll look into whether Southwest is following its customer service plan and whether cancellations were within our control.

The airline has descended into chaos as a result of aggressive scheduling, underinvestment in operations, shorter flights, and tighter turnaround times. Customers who are stuck have been unable to reach Southwest’s customer service representatives to rebook flights or locate misplaced luggage.

Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, both Democrats who serve on the Senate Commerce Committee, wrote in a statement on behalf of irate passengers, “[T]he company can start by fairly compensating passengers whose flights were canceled, including not only rebooked tickets, ticket refunds, and hotel, meal, and transportation reimbursement, but also significant monetary compensation for the disruption to their holiday plans. Southwest plans to distribute a $428 million dividend the next year because it can afford to make things right with the customers it has wronged. Bad weather is not the only cause of cancellations, thus the public is calling on the airline to accept responsibility for internal system failure.


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