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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Southwest Stabilizes

Southwest Airlines preemptively canceled 39 flights for today, as opposed to 2,300 yesterday, as the airline shows signs of steadying after days of mass cancellations following a winter storm last week. Details behind the logistical collapse have emerged in recent days. While most airlines operate off a hub-and-spoke model, where most aircraft and crew are based out of a few major hubs, Southwest operates on a point-to-point model, where flights can travel from city to city without needing to stop at a central hub. The storm created a snowball effect of cancellations that overwhelmed Southwest’s outdated internal scheduling system and resulted in planes and crew being stranded throughout the country while the airline attempted to manually reset operations. Exacerbating issues, Southwest lacks agreements allowing passengers to rebook with other airlines during emergencies. The airline now faces an investigation from the Department of Transportation. Meanwhile, thousands of unclaimed bags are piled up outside baggage claim carousels nationwide. See scenes from the airports here.

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