Holiday Travel Snags Cause Headaches for Students, Teachers


As students returned back following the winter break, rampant airline trouble, including thousands of flight cancellations, made it challenging for many to arrive to campus on time.

About 46% of Americans traveled by plane this December, according to Travel Source. Most notably 6,000 flights were cancelled Wednesday-Friday before Christmas, while 21,000 flights experienced delays. These inconveniences are the product of a mix of wintery weather and staffing problems many airlines are trying to manage. Southwest Airlines was the main culprit of this disarray.

Four year senior Averie Cramer went home to Bermuda for the break. Her delayed flight back to school imposed unneeded stress as she prepared to acclimate back into Williston’s rigorous schedule.

“My delayed flight meant that I was waiting at the airport for much longer and it made me get back to campus later,” she explained. “I had less time to unpack and get ready for the following school day.”

Similarly, Williston’s Dean of Students, David Koritkoski, spent his holiday with family in Kansas City. In attempting to fly home, he dealt with three cancelled flights and ended up extending his trip a few extra days.

“My original flight was scheduled for [December] 26th, it then got cancelled and rescheduled three times. The first time for the 28th, then the 29th and then [January] 3rd.”

Koritkoski was flying on Southwest Airlines and felt fortunate to be with family.

“I was lucky because I was with my brother,” he said. “I did not have the added expense of five extra days in a hotel. Many other people were far worse off.” Luckily, Koritkoski was able to book a new flight on Delta Airlines, although this cost him double the money.

Following these problematic events, Southwest Airlines released a statement for people who had encountered disruptions with their flights.

The statement, posted on their website, reads: “In the event your flight is canceled or significantly delayed during the travel period beginning on December 24, 2022 through January 2, 2023, you may request a refund of your unused ticket to the original form of payment.”

Problems with air travel are not foreign to the year we just had. From January-May, 80,000 flights were cancelled across the country. These issues were attributed to staffing issues many airlines were encountering.

Many returning students are also having issues with lost luggage or luggage ending up in an airport they did not travel to.

Senior Hana Naughton was a victim of these terrible delays.

“It was such a pain! I was supposed to fly on Tuesday but spent 14 hours at the airport while my flight kept getting delayed and eventually canceled,” Hana, who went home to Austin, Texas, explained. “I ended up having to go home and then fly the next morning.  There was no direct flight, meaning I had to connect through Dallas. Not to mention that since my flight had changed so last minute, I had to scramble to find a new ride to campus. I ended up missing two days of school and a lot of sleep.”