Daily Bread for 12.28.22: A Solution to Southwest’s Cancellations

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 40. Sunrise is 7:24 AM and sunset 4:28 PM for 9h 03m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 34% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1836, Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Santa María–Calatrava Treaty.

Tanya Sichynsky and Daniel Victor report Southwest’s Meltdown Draws Federal Scrutiny as Passengers Remain Stranded (‘The airline canceled another 2,500 flights on Wednesday and said it would be days before normal service resumes’): 

ATLANTA — Federal scrutiny is growing. The chief executive is apologizing to customers.

And as the meltdown at Southwest Airlines, one of the worst that industry observers have seen in decades, entered yet another day on Wednesday, irate customers remained stranded, separated from their families and some still carrying Christmas gifts they planned to deliver days ago.

There was no relief early Wednesday: Southwest had canceled more than 2,500 flights, or 62 percent of its planned flights for the day, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking service. The company has said it could be days until the knots are untangled and normal service resumes.


The issues stem from the carrier’s unique “point to point” model, in which planes tend to fly from destination to destination without returning to one or two main hubs. Most airlines follow a “hub and spoke” model, in which planes typically return to a hub airport after flying out to other cities.

When bad weather hits, hub-and-spoke airlines can shut down specific routes and have plans in place to restart operations when the skies clear. But bad weather can scramble multiple flights and routes in a point-to-point model, leaving Southwest staff out of position to resume normal operations.

Southwest has a travel model that works well for them except in bad weather, as against other airlines’ models. Federal scrutiny isn’t needed here; consumer awareness is what’s needed. If travelers decide that flying Southwest is an itinerary risk not with taking, the airline will either change its model, decline in size, or go under. Poor safety isn’t sinking Southwest, it’s their logistical plan that doesn’t work well in bad weather that troubles them. Southwest’s planes aren’t falling out of the sky; they’re stuck on the ground. 

Travelers, not the United States Department of Transportation, should be deciding Southwest’s prospects. 

Drone footage shows New York town buried in snow:

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