Southwest Airlines posts sound performance over holiday period

A line of Southwest Airlines aircraft parked at the terminal.
Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines

US low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines operated nearly 81,500 flights between December 2023 and January 2024 and has reported a solid operational performance across many metrics.

Southwest have made operational investments that assisted in isolating effects and fully recovering our operation after dense fog halted flights on December 23 and December 24 at Chicago Midway Airport.

Weathering the Storm


With an impressive tally of nearly 81,500 flights, Southwest showcased robust operational proficiency across various metrics

Southwest faced a significant hurdle when dense fog played havoc with flights on December 23 and 24 at Chicago Midway Airport, the fourth-busiest airport in their extensive US network.

However, strategic operational investments proved instrumental in isolating the effects of this challenge, enabling Southwest to fully recover its operations swiftly.

Minimizing Disruptions during the Holiday Travel Frenzy


Despite the operational interruption at a critical hub, Southwest demonstrated remarkable resilience by canceling fewer than one percent of scheduled flights during the 19-day extended holiday travel period, stretching through the entire first week of January 2024.

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With a strong volume of over 4,000 daily flights during this period, Southwest efficiently transported more than 9.7 million passengers.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 on the tarmac.
John Crowley from Seattle, WA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In the face of weather and air traffic control challenges that slowed travel industry-wide, Southwest emerged strongly with one of its best December operational performances in recent years.

This momentum then clearly transitioned the carrier into the new year smoothly, with Southwest celebrating its best January 1 on-time performance since 2004.

Operational Performances Throughout 2023


Southwest’s stellar operational performances weren’t confined to the holiday season. Throughout 2023, including key holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, the airline consistently delivered strong operational performances.

These efforts perhaps serve to demonstrate the airline’s commitment to enhancing reliability for both customers and employees alike, and responding to previous issues.

Thanking Loyal Customers and Dedicated Employees


As the curtains closed on the holiday season, Southwest extends heartfelt gratitude to its loyal customers. Choosing Southwest for their travel needs during this period, passengers played a crucial role in the airline’s success.

The carrier said that it looks forward to welcoming them onboard again soon, expressing appreciation for their trust.

Behind the scenes, the airline’s more than 74,000 dedicated employees continue to be the backbone of the airline.

With a commitment to delivering Southwest Hospitality on the ground and in the air, these employees look ahead to another year of providing friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, connecting customers with important moments in their lives.

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Southwest Airlines turned in a sound performance against key metrics across the holiday period, carrying 9.7 million passengers with less than 1% flight cancellations.
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