Traveling for the Holidays: Southwest Scandal


Carly Hall, Staff Reporter

With the holiday season coming to an end, 102 million Americans have traveled by either plane, car, train, etc. This is the highest number in three years, since before the COVID pandemic in 2019. Some people started leaving as early as Dec. 17, but the busiest traveling days were Dec. 22, 23, and 24, and with Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, many people have had to travel during the weekdays that followed. “This year me and my family drove to Ohio, and since we stayed for about a week we drove home on Friday the 23,” senior Calista Zorbas said. 

As blizzards struck across the country during the holiday break, numerous flight cancellations left thousands stranded. Many airlines were scrambling to find solutions, but Southwest Airlines was left having to cancel over 8,000 flights  from Dec. 22-26. The airline announced that they aren’t able to reschedule anything until the new year, despite canceling over 70% of their booked flights. Meanwhile, other airlines like Spirit and JetBlue have only had to cancel 4% of their flights. Just as of Jan. 2, Southwest has announced that flights were back on a normal schedule. 

In addition to the cancellations, Southwest has misplaced thousands of checked-in bags, even if the owner didn’t board a flight. Customers have voiced their grievances online saying they have been in need of medicine, baby essentials, and other important items left in their bags. It is said that some passengers will have to wait up to two weeks to be reunited with their luggage. The airline has notified the passengers affected that they will receive 25,000 frequent flyer/gift points, which is worth about $300. This “gesture of goodwill” is given in addition to the requested refunds and reimbursements.