United, American Cap Fares to Help Southwest's Stranded

Other airlines also try to accommodate customers left high and dry by thousands of nixed SW flights
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2022 6:36 AM CST
As Southwest Struggles, Other Airlines Step Up
A board displays flight statuses after almost all of Southwest Airlines' flights were canceled at Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California, on Tuesday.   (Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Amid travel woes involving Southwest Airlines' customers this holiday week, two other major airlines are trying to mitigate the mess. CNN Business reports that United Airlines and American Airlines are limiting how much it costs to fly to and from certain cities on their own flights to help the thousands of Southwest customers left waiting in airports across the country. The move comes after some stranded travelers ranted about fares in the thousands of dollars on competitor airlines as they tried to rebook their flights. "This should be illegal. ... I'm looking at you: @united @AmericanAir @Delta," one person trying to fly from San Diego to Orlando, Florida, posted on Twitter, showing one-way fares from each of those airlines that exceeded $2,000; one fare hovered close to $3,000.

When another commenter reacted in disgust, American responded. "We're putting a cap on fares for select cities," the airline noted, part of its effort to "[do] our part to help get people where they need to be." United says it's committed to doing the same through Saturday in a good portion of the cities covered by Southwest in the US and Latin America, "to make sure our flights are available to as many customers as possible," an airlines spokesman tells CNN. The outlet notes that Southwest's policy of not rebooking passengers on canceled flights via rival airlines has been exacerbating the issue.

Southwest canceled more than 2,500 flights on Wednesday—61% of the total number canceled domestically and internationally—after nixing thousands of others earlier in the week, per Axios, which notes that Delta, Alaska Airlines, Spirit, and Frontier are also working to accommodate passengers in various ways. "I'm encouraged to see several airlines have now committed to this step—all of them should," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted about the fare caps. Southwest, meanwhile, has opened a dedicated "travel disruption" tool to help its customers rebook flights or request refunds. (More Southwest Airlines stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.