Why Southwest Airlines canceled so many flights the week

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 70% of its flights Monday, including 2,900, according to FlightAware, ending a miserable Christmas weekend for travelers.

Most U.S. airlines canceled flights due to the historic winter storm, but Southwest was hardest hit. Monday, the airline announced it

Southwest spokesman Jay McVay said cancellations increased as storm systems moved throughout the country, stranding flight crews and planes

“We've been chasing our tails, trying to catch up and get back to normal safely, which is our top priority, as quickly as possible,

Southwest uses point-to-point flight routes, unlike many other U.S. airlines, where a jet picks up various crews along the way.

According to Scott Mayerowitz, executive editor of The Points Guy travel site, Southwest can normally run more flights per day than other carriers.

If a weather-related airport closure prevents a flight from reaching its destination, the point-to-point system cascades cancellations, he added.

Earlier staffing concerns at Southwest's Denver fuel vendor may have worsened its problems, CNBC said. In addition, The Denver Post

reported a leaked internal document claiming Southwest had entered a “state of operational emergency” in Denver last Wednesday

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