TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — There may be some good news have a holiday travel meltdown, Southwest’s announced it’s back to normal operations today.
The news comes one day after the airline canceled more than 2,632 flights alone — that’s roughly 60% of its schedule.
Earlier this week, News Channel 8 covered the chaos unfolding with stranded passengers, as baggage piled up. By Friday, there was finally some good news.
There were no canceled Southwest flights at Tampa International Airport and very few delays. Nationwide. Southwest canceled 43 flights, according to FlightAware.
“We switched my flight from Southwest to American,” said Madison O’Connell who was flying to Maryland.
O’Connell didn’t want to risk flying on Southwest after seeing the troubles this past week.
“I was so freaked out with all the TikToks I saw about bags everywhere,” said Emily Beach, who was flying from Rochester to Tampa. “That was definitely spooky, but there’s no point in stressing. You’re at the mercy of the airline like my dad says.”
Beach had a backup plan just in case Southwest grounded her.
“I did book an alternate flight on American tomorrow actually, just in case this one didn’t come through,” Beach said.
The airline has tried to get back on track. Southwest had been flying at a reduced schedule to realign crew, schedules, and its fleet. CEO Bob Jordan said Southwest is offering refunds and covering expenses for rental cars, hotels rooms, meals, and booking customers on other airlines. Jordan also said he’s making investments in operational areas.
“We are going to be putting Southwest Airlines under a microscope in terms of their delivering these kinds of reimbursements and refunds to passengers,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
A promise the Department of Transportation is going to make sure Southwest keeps.
“The airline said to me that they were going to go above and beyond what’s required of them,” Buttigieg said. “I’m looking to make sure they actually do that and if they don’t, we are in a position to levy tens of thousands of dollars per violation per passenger in fines.”
Southwest’s pilot union blames the mess on old computer software and scheduling systems. It’s something Buttigieg says he’s looking into.