Although most of the "thousands" came from a single airline. The others were not really in "thousands" individually.
It really was amazing that Southwest allowed this to happen. I've only flown SW maybe 3 times, out of sheer desperation. I refuse to fly them under ordinary circumstances since they dont have assigned seating.
Actually, their system collapse affected the other airlines/airports, as the displaced travelers thronged to other airlines for obvious reasons.
It is really interesting how one failure can bring the house of cards to its knees. Same can be said for AMTRAK, or even Greyhound. One storm, one broken down freight (or even an AMTRAK), and chaos results.
I'm really sympathetic to displaced travelers, though, whatever their reason for traveling.