Southwest Airlines returned to a relatively normal flight schedule on Friday after at least one million passengers missed connections or missed flights home during the holiday season, many without luggage.
The Dallas airline, which has canceled thousands of flights every day this week after a winter storm late last week, reported fewer than 40 cancellations as of early Friday. While that was more than United, American and Delta combined, it’s progress for an airline after one of the most chaotic weeks in aviation history.
Southwest has canceled more than 13,000 flights since its most recent problems began on December 22. On Thursday alone, it suspended at least 2,350 flights.
Federal regulators promised a rigorous review of what happened at Southwest. Scheduling staff are eyeing outdated technology, which left flight crews stranded due to inclement weather, virtually shutting down almost all airline operations.
Meanwhile, at airports across the country, travelers faced a normal holiday week of travel. There was a stark contrast near Southwest Airline counters, where hundreds of people sat on suitcases or slept wherever they could, while the airline’s planes were parked on runways farther away, but without crew.
Southwest began accepting reservations again on Friday, and officials have certainly begun a long road back in rebuilding passenger trust.