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Several airlines cap fares amid Southwest Airlines issues

According to the FlightAware tracking service, more than 91% of all canceled flights in the U.S. early Wednesday were from Southwest.
Credit: AP
Southwest Airlines jets are seen at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Eugene Garcia)

WASHINGTON — United Airlines, American Airlines and others are capping fare prices in select cities amid nationwide flight cancellations from Southwest Airlines. 

The Dallas-based airline struggled to recover from ferocious winter storms that raked large swaths of the country over the Christmas weekend. On Wednesday, conditions continued to worsen at the airline when it scrubbed 2,500 more flights and warned customers more cancellations were expected. 

According to the FlightAware tracking service, more than 91% of all canceled flights in the U.S. early Wednesday were from Southwest.

United Airlines said on Wednesday it would be capping fare prices in select cities through New Year's Eve, with a major focus on domestic and Latin American markets served by Southwest. 

"We continue to get people to their destinations as safely and quickly as possible this busy holiday season and our latest effort includes capping fares in select cities to make sure our flights are available to as many customers as possible," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement.

Delta Airlines confirmed in a statement that it placed walk-up fare caps but declined to provide details. 

In a statement, Alaska Airlines said that fare caps are built into their pricing model, but that prices have been lowered further in select cities.

While some airlines are capping fares for select cities, some consumers are reporting hefty ticket price spikes.

While addressing a tweet about price gouging, American Airlines confirmed it is also putting caps on fares for select cities.

Exhausted Southwest travelers tried finding seats on other airlines or renting cars to get to their destination, but many remained stranded. The airline’s CEO said it could be next week before the flight schedule returns to normal. .

The Dallas airline was undone by a combination of factors including an antiquated crew-scheduling system and a network design that allows cancellations in one region to cascade throughout the country rapidly. Those weaknesses are not new — they helped cause a similar failure by Southwest in October 2021.

The federal government is now investigating what happened at Southwest, which carries more passengers within the United States than any other airline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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