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Southwest cancels virtually all flights out of San Diego through New Year

With much of the country under a deep freeze from a “once in a generation” winter storm, Southwest Airlines canceled nearly all remaining flights out of San Diego International Airport on Monday afternoon.

As of Monday evening, based on Southwest's website, all flights departing out of major airports in Southern California were "unavailable" through Dec. 31.

The airline blames the cancellations on freezing weather conditions in much of the United States.


“We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent, where Southwest is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S.,” Southwest said in a statement posted on its media website. “This forced daily changes to our flight schedule at a volume and magnitude that still has the tools our teams use to recover the airline operating at capacity.”

Passengers at San Diego International were frustrated with the cancellations and delays, some of whom have been trying to get home since before Christmas.

"I missed Christmas. I had to sleep in the airport. And all the food places in the airport were closed, so I was hungry,” said Myles Spencer, a child traveling with his family back to Texas. “And they lost my luggage."

Chloe Ellis, Spencer's mother, said the family camped out in line at the Southwest ticket counter, also hoping to get on a flight home.

“So we re-booked twice again yesterday and those flights were canceled,” she said. “So we're back again doing the same thing back in the line again to try to rebook. And they're saying we might not be able to get a connecting flight until four or five days later."


Patrick Guarino has been trying to get home to Alabama since Thursday.

"So from Thursday to today, I've been on two canceled flights, three rebooked flights, the gate has changed multiple times on me,” he said. “It just seems I am at their mercy to get home."

Southwest was hardest hit by the “arctic bomb,” with nearly 3,000 flights canceled on Monday — accounting for nearly 70% of its flights, according to FlightAware, the flight tracking website. At San Diego International, as of 3:30 p.m., 154 Southwest flights were canceled and 42 were delayed.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a statement in response to Southwest's cancellations, noting that the department will be looking into the situation.

"USDOT is concerned by Southwest's unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays and reports of lack of prompt customer service," the department tweeted. "The department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan."

Southwest Airlines said it was fully staffed late last week and prepared for the approaching Christmas weekend when severe weather swept across the continent.

Impacted travelers can find more information at

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