The Historic Winter Storm: An Unexpected End To The Year
After a rather eventful year, people were looking forward to the holiday season. However, on Monday, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,900 flights which disrupted holiday plans across the country and stranded passengers. Nationwide, people continued to suffer from the after effects of a historic winter storm. These cancellations contributed towards extreme chaos, uncertainty and a depleting holiday spirit.
This unprecedented weather event stretched from the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande which contributed towards the travel disruptions and cancellations that took place on Monday. Nearly 60% of the U.S. population was given some sort of winter weather warning and advisory.
The temperatures dropped drastically and went from below normal from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians. The storm caused at least 50 deaths nationwide and what was supposed to be a holiday enjoyed by people, turned into a funeral for some.
The airline blamed the extreme weather for these cancellations and profusely apologized to the passengers. The passengers’ disappointment and frustration was evident as they were on unstaffed flights, lost their luggage and waited in extremely long queues for multiple hours. All of this was an aftermath of the Southwest routes being either delayed or canceled and in even worst cases, some passengers were told not to expect any flights for days.
According to the tracking site, FlightAware, low cost carriers had canceled about 2,905 of their scheduled flights which are way more than any other major U.S carrier, across the nation. The site stated that amongst all carriers more than 3,900 domestic and international flights were canceled. On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Transportation stated that it was concerned by Southwest’s lack of prompt customer service, delays and their unacceptable rate of flight cancellations.
The uncertainty surrounding the flights caused people to take prompt action. When the departure screens at airports started stating cancellations and delays, the people in waiting tried to find alternate ways for travel in order to reach their friends, family and holiday destinations. They either opted for rental cars and chose long drives due to the unexpectedness at the airports.
One incident with a traveler turned a one and a half hour flight from Sacramento to Los Angeles into a six hour drive. This happened because the individual was rushing to make an international flight scheduled for Tuesday and didn’t trust Southwest to get him to his desired destination in time. The only options available to him were layovers which cost thousands of dollars and all of these were more than twenty six hours which was inconvenient for him as he had to reach his destination earlier
The unexpected weather conditions are most likely to continue and stretch out, ultimately causing hundreds of flight cancellations after severe blizzard conditions, which include heavy snow and winds and a bomb cyclone which is when atmospheric pressure drops very quickly in a strong storm. Passengers who resorted to these flights are trying to reach their destinations through alternative travel means which can be dangerous considering the severe weather conditions and its uncertainty nationwide.
These weather conditions halted people from celebrating the holidays and having a joyous end to the year 2022 and according to the weather forecasts, this weather will most likely continue well into 2023 which is why everyone should be prepared and mentally ready themselves for further cancellations and uncertainties.