Southwest Airlines faced delays and cancellations this holiday season, though overall travel conditions improved from last year. Dense fog in Chicago caused disruptions, affecting hundreds of Southwest flights. While air travel was smoother due to milder weather, road conditions in the Midwest and Great Plains were challenging due to snow and ice.
Southwest Airlines Faces Delays and Cancellations During Holiday Travel
This Christmas season, travelers flying with Southwest Airlines faced some delays and cancellations, although overall, the travel conditions were better than last year. Despite preparations by U.S. airlines to handle the holiday rush, Southwest Airlines still had disruptions over the weekend.
On Monday, FlightAware, a flight tracking website, reported that there were 138 flight cancellations and 1,366 delays in the United States. Specifically, Southwest Airlines canceled 2% of its flights and delayed 12%, affecting 524 flights on Monday.
Over the weekend, according to The Independent, Southwest Airlines faced more significant issues, canceling 426 flights and delaying 2,689. The airline attributed these disruptions to dense fog in Chicago, which made it difficult for planes to land. They anticipated a full recovery by Tuesday.
The broader picture for holiday travel in the U.S. this year was much improved compared to last year. The auto club AAA estimated that 115 million Americans would travel over 50 miles from home between Saturday and New Year's Day, a 2% increase from last year. Over 2.6 million people were screened at airports by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on the Thursday before Christmas.
Travel by air during this holiday season was assisted by milder weather conditions, contributing to more on-time flights. However, ground travel faced challenges in some parts of the country. On Christmas Day, the Midwest and Great Plains experienced hazardous road conditions due to snow and ice, with blizzard conditions in most of Nebraska and South Dakota.
The busiest days for road travel were expected to be Saturday, December 23, and Thursday, December 28. INRIX, a transportation data provider, made this prediction.
While Southwest Airlines worked to resolve its flight issues, travelers navigated mixed conditions, with air travel showing improvements but road conditions remaining challenging in some areas.
Faces Criticism Over Dress Code Dispute
A woman recently called out Southwest Airlines on social media, claiming they unfairly targeted her for her clothing. The passenger, Mamacita Meeks, said an airline staff member told her to cover up because she was wearing a sports bra. This happened even though she regularly wears the same outfit when flying.
Yahoo! News reported last October that Mamacita Meeks shared photos on Twitter/X, including one in a sweater, and expressed her frustration. She mentioned she would not risk being on the no-fly list over this issue.
On social media, some users did not support Meeks. One person said, "a bra does not equal a shirt," while another commented, "just nasty." Whether they meant wearing a sports bra on a flight or Southwest Airlines' actions is unclear.
This incident adds to a growing list of disputes over flight dress codes. Last month, an athlete shared how she felt shamed by Southwest Airlines for her workout clothes. She was wearing Nike joggers and a crop top. Another recent case involved American Airlines. Two women were asked to change their clothes publicly before boarding. They claimed their new outfits, shorts, were more revealing than their original clothes, a maxi skirt and trousers.
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