Flight chaos returns to the US as more than 1,200 flights were canceled on Thursday and 452 more were canceled for Friday, with Southwest Airlines leading the pack after delaying 40 percent of its trips.
According to Flightaware, which tracks the status of flights around the world, 1,207 flights in, to or out of the US were canceled on Thursday, with 7,648 flights delayed.
Southwest Airlines had the most affected flights, with 356 canceled and 1,734 delayed, after a computer glitch in Phoenix caused the airline to lose connectivity.
As of early Friday, the airline has canceled 49 additional flights and delayed 11, and more than 1,200 flights will be delayed in the US.
Fears of another Airmageddon in the US were fueled on Thursday as more than 1,200 flights were canceled and 7,648 delayed
Southwest Airlines had the most affected flights, with 356 canceled and 1,734 delayed, after a computer glitch in Phoenix caused the airline to lose connectivity. Pictured: Crowds waiting for news of their Southwest flights in Las Vegas
According to Flightaware, which tracks the status of flights around the world, as of Friday, 452 flights have been canceled and 1,234 have been delayed.
Southwest Airlines said the outage issue was resolved before Thursday afternoon, but hundreds of flights had been affected by that time
Southwest Airlines spokesman Dan Landson said in a statement that the airline was hit by early morning storms that caused disruptions at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Although Landson said the problem was fixed before noon, hundreds of flights had already been affected by the outage.
The cancellations and delays caused travelers to vent their frustrations on social media, with the airline criticized for its long wait times and lack of service.
Twitter user Alexis Nicole said she experienced multiple delays on Thursday, tweeting that this was her second “bad experience with Southwest Airlines.”
‘Why are we waiting’ [hours] for delayed flights, just turn around… board a plane, to wait more [hours] for a 2nd pilot,” she wrote. “Get all of you together!!!”
Another Twitter user with the handle Julianne wrote about her terrible experience with the airline.
“You at Southwest Airlines are really testing me,” she tweeted. ‘First change my flight without informing me, then put my bags on a different flight than me, THEN lose my bags while they deliver to me??
“No compensation AND I was verbally abused by two customer reps…Insane.”
Fellow Twitter user Tori echoed the frustration and argued that the delays should never happen again.
“My flight was supposed to leave six hours ago and I’m just boarding now. Please don’t hurt me like that anymore. I beg you @SouthwestAir.”
The Southwest problem arose after a storm knocked out power at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday morning
Black screens appeared all over the airport as officials rushed to restore systems
Southwest Airlines canceled 49 additional flights and 11 . delayed
Many took to Twitter to air about the canceled and delayed flights from Southwest
In addition to the problems with Southwest, travelers also experienced headaches from American Airlines, which canceled nearly 200 flights on Thursday and delayed 877 trips, about 26 percent of flights.
As of Friday, American leads the way in rescheduling with 98 canceled and 39 delayed flights.
The rescheduling comes as the airline announced it would cut 2 percent of flights from its schedule in September and October, CNN reports.
American called the cuts “proactive adjustments” to accommodate available resources and build a “buffer” through the rest of its summer schedule.
The airline says it will reach passengers directly with “alternative travel options” and offer full refunds to those who decline the new flight arrangements.
It comes as the US Department of Transportation has proposed a new rule that would expand the circumstances in which airlines must offer refunds.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg has proposed expanding the circumstances in which travelers can claim refunds from airlines
Currently, passengers are only entitled to a refund if an airline has “made a major schedule change or has significantly delayed a flight and the travelers choose not to board.”
The DOT does not define what ‘significant’ means in this context, but the new proposal would change that.
Under the new rule, significant changes would be defined as changes that affect departure or arrival times by three hours or more for domestic flights and six hours or more for international flights.
It also includes whether changes are made to the airport where the flight arrives or departs, as well as changes to the number of connections and whether someone is experiencing a major downgrade in their travel experience.
“This new proposed rule would protect travelers’ rights and ensure they get the timely refunds they deserve from the airlines,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
The current number of Americans traveling has increased since the height of the pandemic, but remains below the pre-covid era.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.1 million passengers at domestic airports, about 86 percent from the same day in 2019.