What the Southwest Airlines meltdown looked like at MSP Airport

A busy travel day for post-holiday flyers was complicated on Monday as thousands of flights were canceled nationwide, including dozens at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. And issues continued into Tuesday.

As of Monday afternoon, 79 flights had been canceled out of MSP along with 158 delays, according to the FlightAware tracker. Nationwide, nearly 5,000 flights have been canceled, with most of the cancellations coming from Southwest with more than 2,700 cancellations, which amounts to more than 60% of their flights.

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At MSP, Delta led the way Monday with 38 canceled flights, but Southwest is not far behind with 29 canceled flights. For comparison, Delta's cancellations amount to 11% of their flights at MSP while the 29 canceled flights are 80% of Southwest's planned flights.

As of Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., there were 35 canceled flights in and out of MSP Airport and another 40 delays. Nationally, 2,924 flights within, into or out of the United States had been canceled, and another 1,935 were delayed, according to FlightAware's tracker.

FOX 9 crews spoke with several people who had been impacted by the cancellations. One group going to Denver was told by Southwest they couldn't rebook them until Friday. The group is now looking to rent a car to drive back.

Denver seems to be the hardest-hit airport, with more than 420 canceled flights, nearly all of them (383) being Southwest flights.

In a message on Twitter, Southwest warned flyers their customer support phone system had been overwhelmed, as the ripple effects of Winter Storm Elliott continue to cause problems.

"With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable," an updated post from Southwest reads. "We’re working with Safety at the forefront to urgently address wide-scale disruption by rebalancing the airline and repositioning Crews and our fleet ultimately to best serve all who plan to travel with us."

Southwest's website says all customers traveling through Jan. 2, 2023, can rebook or travel standby without paying additional charges (so long as you're flying in the "original class of service"). Customers can also request a refund