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Southwest cancellations: Over 700 flights affected on Christmas

Southwest canceled 735 flights on Sunday, according to FlightAware.

DALLAS — There were a lot of frustrated passengers trying to get home for Christmas at Dallas Love Field.

On Sunday, Southwest Airlines canceled 735 flights, about 19% of flights, according to FlightAware.

On Saturday, they canceled about 38% of flights, and on Friday, over 30% of flights were canceled.

“I’m here, where I want to be,” said Margaret Milligan, who flew in from Albuquerque.

For Margaret, getting to Dallas on Christmas was a challenge. 

“Margaret was supposed to fly out on southwest, she was at the airport. they cancelled her flight in Albuquerque,” said Emily Milligan, her daughter-in-law.

Nearly everyone at Love Field was trying to make it home for the holidays.

Aviation expert Steve Cosgrove said Southwest Airlines was one of the hardest hit by the big winter storm last week.

“You’ve got a combination of weather, crews out of position,” said Cosgrove, CEO of Dynamic Travel.

But the problems for the airline continued.

“Southwest runs a very tight schedule. They turn a plane in 20 minutes. You start getting planes and crews out of place, it’s tough to get them back in place. Northeast and the central with weather, they had fog in San Diego, weather in Seattle, weather hitting Denver. These are major operations,” said Cosgrove.

Cosgrove said the delays and cancellations are not only because of the weather, but because of a shortage in pilots and staff. Pilots are only allowed to fly a certain number of hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

“They eventually get to a point where they get timed out, they worked their 16-hour duty day. The FAA mandates their rest periods,” said Steve.

While crews and employees are doing the best they can, everyone just wants to get home.

“People just want to be with family that’s what it boils down to,” said Emily.

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