Thousands of stranded holiday travelers were no closer to home on Tuesday, as the aftermath of a deadly winter storm that grounded flights and throttled plans over the holiday weekend continued to play out at airline counters across the country.
Disruptions were likely to continue throughout the week at airports, where canceled flights caused weary homebound travelers to sleep on floors and wait hours in line for customer service.
By mid-morning Eastern time on Tuesday, nearly 2,900 U.S. flights were canceled and more than 1,600 others delayed, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking service. Most of the cancellations — more than 2,500 of them — came from Southwest Airlines, which had already called off more than 60 percent of its flights for the day.
Tuesday’s unfolding chaos followed similar scenes on Monday, when more than 4,000 U.S. flights — most also operated by Southwest — were canceled and more than 8,500 others delayed, FlightAware reported.
Southwest Airlines said in a statement on Monday that the travel disruptions were “unacceptable” and that its network was behind because of the winter storm that slammed parts of the country with heavy snow, ice and strong winds much of last week. “Our heartfelt apologies for this are just beginning,” the company said, adding that it was working to address the disruptions by “rebalancing the airline and repositioning” crews.
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