What to do about Southwest's meltdown

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

An airplane.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 15,000 flights last week in an operational meltdown that disrupted holiday plans for tens of thousands of holiday travelers. Even Monday, after the company said it had returned to nearly normal operations, Southwest canceled another 160 flights, more than any other U.S. airline, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. One passenger has already sued, accusing the airline of failing to provide refunds to stranded passengers.

Southwest blames the chaos on a massive winter storm that hammered much of the United States last week. But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wrote in a letter to the airline that many of the problems weren't due to the weather. He said other airlines affected by the storm "recovered relatively quickly, unlike Southwest," and vowed to hold the company accountable. Should the federal government impose changes to protect passengers from a repeat of this holiday-season disaster, or is this Southwest's problem alone?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.