(CNSNews.com) – “Anybody seen @PeteButtigieg lately? Our airline system is imploding. Vacationing again?”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg responded to that question, posed by someone on Twitter, on Monday night, saying: “I’m tracking closely & will have more to say about this tomorrow.”
(“Tomorrow” is today — Tuesday. Buttigieg did not say where he is.)
The icy winter weather has caused massive flight disruptions, but none worse than the meltdown at Southwest Airlines, where the airline reportedly canceled 2,886 flights on Monday, or 70% of scheduled flights.
Stranded customers have overwhelmed the Southwest phone lines and social media accounts, forcing customers to wait hours for help in changing canceled flights — if the call does not drop in the meantime.
Southwest tweeted, “We continue to experience high call and social inquiry volumes. Please check your flight status and explore self-service options…”
The U.S. Transportation Department tweeted Monday night: “USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service. The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”
As of 5 a.m. ET Tuesday, CBS News reported, Southwest was responsible for an overwhelming majority of U.S. cancellations for the new day, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.com. Two-thirds of Southwest’s flights had been canceled as of Monday afternoon, according to FlightAware.
On December 24, Christmas Eve, Buttigieg tweeted: “Severe weather across the country led to more than 20% of flights being canceled yesterday (Dec. 23). Impacts continue today but FAA expects that the most extreme disruptions are behind us as airline and airport operations gradually recover.”
This is not the first time stranded Southwest Airlines customers have asked, “Where’s Pete?”
As CNSNews.com reported in October 2021:
Buttigieg, President Biden’s transportation secretary, hasn’t had much, if anything, to say about the disruptive, multi-day Southwest Airlines flight cancellations that have stranded thousands of passengers; or about the nation’s supply chain logjam, where dozens of container ships wait off the California coast for the opportunity to unload.”
As it turns out, Buttigieg was on (unannounced) paternity leave at that time.
Earlier this month, Buttigieg went to Portugal on vacation as a rail strike loomed.
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