Commander pushes travel safety, not punctuality

Joe Raedle

As thousands attempt to navigate travel disruptions over the holidays, one Army colonel sent a message out to his subordinates to not worry about travel disruptions that are out of their hands.

Col. Ryan Kranc of the 16th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia sent out a tweet on Wednesday addressing travel disruptions due to inclement weather and massive cancellations at one national airline. Kranc told those worried about disruptions to their travel plans to contact their chain of command.

The disruptions upended travel for thousands, including service members on leave.

“My number one priority is to make sure our team, Soldier, civilians and families are safe,” Kranc said in a tweet. “Do not worry about leave dates or what’s chargeable — we have accommodations and authorities for situations like these, and I intend to exercise them in the best interest of our troopers.”

The message to troops comes as holiday travel plans for thousands have been derailed due to severe winter weather across the country. Severe cold fronts and snowstorms across much of the country caused delays across multiple airlines in the days leading up to Christmas.

But Southwest Airlines — who holds the second highest share of domestic flights among U.S. airlines — faced systematic failures with its computer systems that also left thousands stranded across the country. Since winter weather started the slate of cancellations on Dec. 22, Southwest has cancelled more than 15,000 flights. Much of the disruptions was from a failure in Southwest’s computer systems, the vice president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said in an interview with CBS.

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An Associated Press report detailed numerous service members — and veterans — who faced cancelled flights and postponed holidays due to the flight cancellations. One service member, Amiah Manlove, used most of her savings to fly over 4,000 miles from Hawaii to Indianapolis, Indiana. Midway through her journey, Southwest cancelled a connecting flight, leaving Manlove to sleep on the floor of the airport.

“We plan to return to normal operations with minimal disruptions on Friday,” Southwest said in a statement on Thursday. “We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made to realign Crew, their schedules, and our fleet. With another holiday weekend full of important connections for our valued Customers and Employees, we are eager to return to a state of normalcy.”