This Chart Shows How Massively Southwest Airlines Blew It

Southwest Airlines alone was responsible for more than half the world’s canceled flights on Monday, and its performance has only gotten worse since, according to FlightAware data.

SO WHAT

Customer satisfaction with the airline industry has plummeted post-pandemic.

THE DETAILS

Airlines delayed and canceled tens of thousands of flights in response to a Christmas weekend storm that buried much of the U.S. in snow and left at least 62 people dead.

  • Southwest called off 2,909 flights Monday; then, as other carriers recovered, it canceled another 7,533 flights scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday, as of Wednesday morning, per FlightAware.
  • At airports across the U.S., travelers waited in hours-long lines to rebook flights, and some were stranded for days.

THE RESPONSE

“Our plan for the next few days is to fly a reduced schedule and reposition our people and planes,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a video message released Tuesday night. “We are making headway and we are optimistic to be back on track before next week.”

  • “The problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee on Commerce, said in a statement Tuesday. “The Committee will be looking into the causes of these disruptions and its impact to consumers.”

THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES

“Overall passenger satisfaction across all three study segments — first/business, premium economy and economy/basic economy — is 798 (on a 1,000-point scale), down more than 20 points from a year ago,” a J.D. Power survey of North American airline passenger satisfaction found earlier this year.

  • “Passenger satisfaction with cost, flight crews and aircraft all decline in this year’s study.”
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