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Hundreds of flights are canceled by Southwest Airlines, which inconveniences some vacationers

The majority of holiday travelers this year are off to a happier start this Christmas after thousands of American flights were canceled or delayed over the holidays in 2022. However, on Christmas Day, some trouble spots started to show.

As of 5:25 p.m. Eastern Time, tracking service FlightAware reported that approximately 157 flights to, from, or within the United States had been canceled, while just 2,058 had experienced delays.

By December 22, airlines had canceled the fewest number of flights into the United States in five years—just 1.2% of all flights. Over 3 million passengers—a 16% increase from 2022—were anticipated to fly through domestic airports during the busy holiday season.

Southwest Airlines aircraft were canceled

Not everyone had such good fortune. According to CBS News Chicago, some travelers at Chicago’s Midway International Airport were left stranded on Christmas Eve, and Southwest Airlines—the American airline that caused the most disruptions during the holiday season last year—was having issues once more. Although Southwest blamed the delays on Chicago’s foggy weather, travelers also told CBS2 that a labor shortage was a contributing factor.

Passengers at Denver International Airport were also impacted by these hiccups; according to FlightAware data, Southwest had to cancel 293 flights on Sunday and delay almost 1,300 more.

“We had dense fog in Chicago that forced us to discontinue operating last night and into this morning,” Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Mainz said to CBS News Colorado.

According to FlightAware data, Southwest canceled 109 flights on Monday, or 2% of its daily flights, and 693 flights were delayed. In contrast, United Airlines canceled six flights, and Delta canceled eight.

“[Y]ou guys ruined my Christmas two years in a row,” a user wrote on X on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Weather Channel reported that a winter storm in the Northern Plains is bringing snow, ice, and hazardous driving conditions to the area on Monday that stretches from northern Kansas through Nebraska, the Dakotas, and portions of Minnesota.

In response to the chaos that left over 2 million travelers stranded over the holidays last year, Southwest and the federal government agreed to a $140 million settlement earlier this month. In the past, Southwest has committed to giving customers refunds and reimbursements totaling more than $600 million.

On December 18, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted, “This is a message to the entire airline industry: They must take care of passengers, or we’ll use the full extent of our authority to hold them accountable.”

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