United, American to Cap Prices to Aid Southwest Passengers

In response to a rash of cancellations by Southwest Airlines in the aftermath of a major winter storm over the weekend, airline rivals United and American Airlines have announced they will place price caps on flights to and from cities serviced by Southwest to help get customers home.

United, American to Cap Prices to Aid Southwest Passengers
Image credit: Washington Post

Facts

  • In response to a rash of cancellations by Southwest Airlines in the aftermath of a major winter storm over the weekend, airline rivals United and American Airlines have announced they will place price caps on flights to and from cities serviced by Southwest to help get customers home.
  • According to the FlightAware tracking service, more than 91% of all canceled flights in the US on Wednesday were from Southwest, which has struggled to recover from winter storms that hit swaths of the country over the weekend. While other major airlines have canceled from none to 2% of their flights this week, Southwest has had more than 10K cancellations as of Wednesday.
  • Southwest’s cancelations have sparked a surge in airfare prices, with flights from or to Southwest hubs increasing to exorbitant amounts.
  • The airline has blamed bad weather and problems getting crews to new planes as issues behind the disruptions. Southwest CEO Bob Jordan says that the company hopes to be "back on track before next week."

Sources: CNN, Associated Press, and NBC.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Axios. With thousands of passengers left in the lurch by Southwest’s mess, it’s encouraging that other airlines have stepped up their effort to rectify this situation. Every airline should do what it can while Southwest continues to create chaos even several days after the crippling Christmas storm.
  • Narrative B, as provided by CNN. It’s great that other airlines are helping Southwest passengers, but Southwest can’t be fully blamed for what’s gone on since the weekend. In a stroke of bad luck, two of its biggest hubs — Chicago Midway and Denver International Airport — were hardest hit by the storm, and staffing has been challenged by the so-called “tripledemic” (COVID, flu, and RSV). Combine that with the holiday rush, and Southwest faced an unprecedented challenge to its service.