Southwest Airlines gets another lump of coal on Christmas

Dec 25, 2023, 5:30 PM | Updated: 5:31 pm

A Southwest Airlines jet. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)...

A Southwest Airlines jet. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Conditions were mostly rainy at Sea-Tac Airport this year for travelers flying ahead of and on Christmas and some naughty disruptions again plagued those flying Southwest Airlines.

For millions of people traveling over the holiday, this year was much better than last. Christmas morning put a bow on a relatively smooth weekend.

By midday Monday, only 138 flights within, into or out of the U.S. had been canceled and 1,366 were delayed, according to the tracking website FlightAware.

For this holiday season, U.S. airlines prepared for massive waves of travelers by hiring thousands of pilots, flight attendants and other workers — in an effort to avoid the delays and cancellations that marred travel in 2022, culminating with the Southwest Airlines debacle that stranded more than 2 million people.

Still, Southwest experienced hiccups again over the weekend that the airline was looking to clear by Monday. Just 2% of the airline’s flights were canceled Monday, though 12% were delayed, which is 524 flights total, according to FlightAware.

On Saturday and Sunday, Southwest canceled 426 flights and delayed 2,689 flights, FlightAware data showed.

A Southwest spokesperson blamed the issues on dense fog in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday that prevented planes from landing and said some additional cancellations may be necessary Monday ahead of what was expected to be a full recovery on Tuesday.

Auto club AAA predicted that between Saturday and New Year’s Day, 115 million people in the U.S. would travel at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home by air or car. That’s up 2% from last year.

More than 2.6 million people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Thursday, according to TSA records. Data from the weekend is yet to be released.

Over Thanksgiving, a record number of people traveled through U.S. airports, topping pre-COVID numbers in 2019 with a single-day record of 2.9 million people screened by TSA on Sunday, Nov. 26.

Compared with the holiday season last year, more mild weather has helped keep air travel schedules on time.

But on the ground, road conditions were dangerous in parts of the country on Christmas Day, thanks to accumulating snow and ice in the Midwest and Great Plains. Most of Nebraska and South Dakota were facing blizzard conditions, and parts of eastern North and South Dakota were facing ice storms, according to the National Weather Service.

The busiest days on the road were predicted to be Saturday, Dec. 23, and next Thursday, Dec. 28, according to transportation data provider INRIX.


MyNorthwest News

Image: The Supreme Court building can be seen from a distance on Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washin...

Associated Press

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, gun accessory

The Supreme Court has struck down a ban on bump stocks, an accessory that allows semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.

4 hours ago


Julia Dallas

90 Lynnwood residents — mostly seniors — on verge of homelessness

Seattle Morning News' Dave Ross speaks with the Lynnwood City Council president on protecting residents who live in manufactured home communities and are seeing massive rent increases on the land their homes sit on. 

18 hours ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

22 hours ago

Image: Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloo...

Associated Press

Unanimous Supreme Court preserves access to widely used abortion medication

The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously preserved access to an abortion medication that was used in nearly two-thirds of U.S. procedures.

24 hours ago

starbucks supreme court...

Associated Press

Supreme Court, siding with Starbucks, makes it harder for NLRB to win court orders in labor disputes

The Supreme Court case began in February 2022, when Starbucks fired seven workers who were trying to unionize their Tennessee store.

1 day ago

seattle FBI...

Frank Sumrall

SWAT arrests armed woman after she barricades herself inside Seattle FBI building

An armed woman barricaded herself in the visitor lobby of the FBI Seattle building in downtown Seattle Wednesday afternoon.

1 day ago

Southwest Airlines gets another lump of coal on Christmas