U.S. air travelers endured another day of flight woes Tuesday as a dangerous winter storm struck a large swath of the southern United States, causing more than 1,900 cancellations and 4,000 delays by the evening.
American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, both based in the Dallas region, were the hardest hit among U.S. carriers. American had canceled more than 500 flights, or 16 percent, of its scheduled flights by midday Tuesday and delayed 12 percent, while Southwest canceled more than 550 of its scheduled departures, according to FlightAware.
American has a significant base of operations at Dallas-Fort Worth, while Southwest has a major presence at nearby Love Field.
On its website and mobile app, Southwest warned customers of potential disruptions at a dozen cities it serves, including six in Texas and others in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas. The carrier said travelers could rebook flights or travel on standby within 14 days of their original date of travel to cities that were part of their original itinerary.
American Airlines offered similar accommodations for its customers.
The cancellations came after more than 1,100 flights were grounded Monday.
The new spate of cancellations and delays came on the same day two U.S. senators reintroduced legislation that they said would improve the conditions of air travel in the pandemic era.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have been among the most outspoken critics of U.S. carriers, which received more than $50 billion in pandemic aid designed to ensure the system was ready when demand for travel returned.
Blumenthal said the reintroduction of the two measures, one a passengers’ bill of rights — which includes one provision that would guarantee compensation for travelers when their flight is delayed more than four hours, and another that would bar airlines from charging “unreasonable” fees for bags, seats and other items — could not be more timely, “as the middle part of the country is experiencing major delays.”
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