DALLAS — During one of the busiest travel periods of the year, many Southwest Airlines (WN) passengers have been trying to get back home amid flight cancellations. However, these passengers have found that other airlines flying to their destinations are charging thousands of dollars per ticket.
American Airlines (AA) and United Airlines (UA) have stated that they will impose price caps on travel from select cities in the affected regions, but have not specified which cities. Other US carriers, such as Spirit Airlines (NK), have mentioned changes or fare differences between now and January 3 to and from dozens of cities, including Boston and New York.
While AA and UA did not mention the Dallas-based airline by name, these price caps are designed to help WN travelers get home. AA and UA have capped routes that are served by WN and will run through Saturday. The cap will apply to many US, South American, and Central American markets that WN flies to.
Most of the policies implemented by the airlines are to last until the first week of 2023.
Southwest opened a web self-service where customers impacted by travel disruptions through January 2 can request a refund or rebook flights.
A Couple of Helping Wings
These caps are a relief for WN travelers across North America as they try to get to their final destinations in time for the New Year. On Wednesday, December 28, the Dallas Love Field-based carrier canceled 2,507 flights, whereas AA and UA had only canceled 30 and 32 flights, respectively. The airline canceled 2,694 flights on Tuesday and 2,348 flights on Thursday.
Southwest Airlines has a policy of not rebooking trips on other US carriers, making it difficult for passengers to reach their destinations. Additionally, unlike other carriers, it does not have interline agreements with other US carriers that allow passengers to be rebooked on a different airline, thus narrowing options for stranded travelers.
The mass cancellations were a result of the cold temperatures across the United States and complicated flight paths. In order to catch up, the carrier has reduced its flying during the holiday weekend.
Southwest is the biggest domestic carrier in the United States and, according to the airlines, is the largest airline in many of the top US travel markets.
Featured image: Brad Tisdel/Airways