Southwest Airlines cancels 2,500 flights Wednesday as nationwide travel woes continue

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Will Southwest get away with holiday meltdown?

‘Kennedy’ panelists react to Southwest Airlines cancelling and delaying 80% of flights ahead during Christmas holiday. 

Southwest Airlines has canceled more than 2,500 flights Wednesday as the company is still reeling from a Christmas weekend winter storm that other major U.S. carriers have already recovered from. 

As of this morning, 2,507 Southwest flights have been canceled, compared to just 32 from Spirit Airlines and 24 from JetBlue, according to FlightAware. For Thursday, the airline has canceled another 2,348 flights so far, bringing its two-day cancelation total to nearly 5,000. 

"Our plan for the next few days is to fly a reduced schedule and reposition our people and planes," Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a video message released Tuesday night. "We are making headway and we are optimistic to be back on track before next week." 

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Southwest's "highly complex" network was thrown off by the winter storm as dozens of aircraft and crews fell out of position, Jordan explained. 

AMERICAN AIRLINES SAYS IT WILL CAP FARES FOR SOME CITIES AMID SOUTHWEST’S HIGH RATE OF CANCELLATIONS 

A traveler wades through the field of unclaimed bags at the Southwest Airlines luggage carousels at Denver International Airport on Dec. 27. (AP/David Zalubowski / AP Newsroom)

But the chaos has prompted a review by the Senate Commerce Committee, frequent criticism from travelers and a stream of images showing unclaimed bags piling up at major airports as Southwest Airlines is trying to work through its issues. 

"The problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather," Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee on Commerce, said in a statement on Tuesday. "The Committee will be looking into the causes of these disruptions and its impact to consumers." 

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CEO APOLOGIZES TO TRAVELERS 

Cancelled Southwest Airlines flights are seen in red on the departures flight schedules at the Southwest terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 27.  (AP/Damian Dovarganes / AP Newsroom)

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also said Tuesday he's "made clear" to Southwest's executives that his agency will hold the airline "accountable for making things right with their customers and employees." 

Multiple airlines struggled over the Christmas weekend as a winter storm barreled through the U.S., but Southwest has continued canceling thousands of flights this week.  

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A traveler sleeps on a bench near the Southwest Airlines check-in counter at Denver International Airport on Dec. 27. (AP/David Zalubowski / AP Newsroom)

On Monday, Southwest called off 2,909 flights, representing 71% of the 4,006 flights that were canceled nationwide, according to FlightAware. Another 2,678 flights were canceled by Southwest on Tuesday. 

"I want everyone who is dealing with the problems we've been facing, whether you haven't been able to get to where you need to go or you’re one of our heroic employees caught up in a massive effort to stabilize the airline, to know is that we're doing everything we can to return to a normal operation. And please also hear that I'm truly sorry," Jordan said in a video message.  

FOX Business’ Paul Best contributed to this report. 

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