CLEVELAND, Ohio — Nearly all Southwest Airlines flights out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are canceled today, part of thousands of flights canceled by the airline as it struggles to recover after the weekend’s winter storm.
According to the Hopkins website, nine of the 11 scheduled departures today (Tuesday, Dec. 27) had been canceled as of 3:30 a.m. An 8:15 a.m. flight to St. Louis and a 6:10 p.m. flight to Baltimore remained scheduled.
Nearly all flights at Hopkins from other airlines were scheduled to depart on time.
Monday was a rough day for air travel, but it was disastrous for Southwest. According to flightaware.com, there were 5,534 flights canceled and more than 17,300 flights were delayed. Southwest canceled more than 2,870 flights, about 70% of its schedule for Monday.
That included flights out of Hopkins, leaving some travelers stranded, reports say.
HEADS UP: If you planned to fly @SouthwestAir today in Cleveland, there’s currently issues with flights being canceled. Working to find out why. Everyone here saying at 5am all flights just went from all set to canceled.
Here’s the line to Southwest. pic.twitter.com/jbtYLwGPyM
— Katie Tercek (@KT_Tercek) December 26, 2022
Chris Perry, a spokesman for Southwest, tells NPR the cancellations were caused by “lingering effects” of the weekend’s winter storm. But Perry said the airline also was having difficulty “connecting flight crews to their schedules.”
CNN reports Southwest’s troubles are carrying over to today, with more than 2,400 Tuesday flights already canceled as of 10:50 p.m. Monday. Some flights scheduled for departure Wednesday from Hopkins also had been canceled.
KTLA Channel 5 reports that all Southwest flights from Los Angeles and San Diego airports have been canceled until Dec. 31.
Adding to the problem is that the airline’s customer service center has been inundated with calls, the Washington Post reports. Hold times are estimated at two to four hours. Southwest sent out a tweet urging customers to use its website if possible to reschedule flights.
The airline’s troubles have caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In a tweet Monday, the federal agency said it “is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays and reports of lack of prompt customer service. The department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”
“This is really as bad as it gets for an airline,” Kyle Potter, executive editor of Thrifty Traveler, tells NPR. “We’ve seen this again and again over the course of the last year or so, when airlines really just struggle, especially after a storm, but there’s pretty clear skies across the country.”
Potter tells NPR that Southwest’s struggles are “a full-blown meltdown.”