Dallas-based Southwest Airlines canceled more flights over the last two days than any other airline in the United States, according to the website FlightAware.com.
Southwest canceled nearly 1,200 flights on Wednesday and Thursday, which amounted to around one-third of all flight cancellations in the country during that time.
There are two primary problems plaguing the airline – COVID and winter weather in many parts of the country.
A spokesman said the airline was dealing with extreme cold at several airports and a high number of call-outs by employees who were either sick with COVID-19 or were isolating after close contact with someone with the virus.
Southwest is among many airlines offering bonuses to healthy employees to encourage them to work extra shifts in the coming weeks, as it struggles to find enough crews to operate its flight schedule. Southwest has also started to preemptively cancel several flights in an effort to get ahead of the problem and allow travelers more time to make alternate plans.
The winter weather cancellations started on Monday of this week when several inches of snow fell in parts of the Mid Atlantic and the northeast. Snow was again falling on Thursday, and on into Friday along the east coast.
U.S. cancellations began rising on Christmas Eve and peaked Monday at more than 3,200 — about one in every eight flights.