Southwest Airlines cancelled more than 70% of its flights on Monday and issued a warning that widespread disruptions would persist this week as other airlines recovered from harsh winter weather. Let’s see about it in detail.
Southwest Airlines Cancellation:
Southwest has already cancelled 70% of its flights for the following day as of Monday night.
To restore operations, Southwest stated it will run only a third of its scheduled flights “over the next few days.”
Since Wednesday, more than 17,000 U.S. flights have been cancelled by airlines, according to FlightAware, as storms across the nation brought snow, ice, strong winds, and extreme cold, disrupting air travel.
Crews were hindered by those circumstances as they dealt with difficult airport conditions.
— Brandon Richard (@BrandonLRichard) December 26, 2022
Southwest said Monday that it expected
“additional changes with an already reduced level of flights as we approach the coming New Year holiday travel period.”
When they publish results next month if not before, carriers are likely to go into detail about the costs of the disruptions.
Southwest Airlines faced enormous difficulties. Among other difficulties, executives cited unexpected fog in San Diego, labor problems at its fuel supplier in Denver, and internal technology.
The Department of Transportation said,
“USDOT is concerned by Southwest Airlines’ disproportionate and unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays as well as the failure to properly support customers experiencing a cancellation or delay.”
“As more information becomes available the Department will closely examine whether cancellations were controllable and whether Southwest is complying with its customer service plan as well as all other pertinent DOT rules.”
Other Airlines vs Southwest Airlines
Among the airlines impacted by the weather were Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Airlines.
On Monday, though, there were some cancellations on other carriers. On Monday, other carriers steadied while Southwest’s issues persisted. Over 2,800 flights, or 70% of its scheduled departures, were cancelled by the airline, and 670 more flights were delayed.
In contrast, American had 12 flights scrubbed and United had 5% of its mainline flights cancelled on Monday. On Monday, nearly 5,000 American flights were delayed and more than 3,200 were cancelled.
To stabilize its business, Southwest had been aggressively cancelling numerous flights, COO Andrew Watterson informed personnel.
FlightAware data shows that from Wednesday through Sunday, roughly one-third of Southwest’s flights were cancelled and two-thirds were delayed.
Southwest spokesperson Chris Perry told NPR that the airline’s disruptions are the result of the winter storm’s lingering effects and that the company hopes to “stabilise and improve its operation” with better weather.
Other issues that have exacerbated the airline’s struggle to meet the holiday rush include difficulties “connecting flight crews to their schedules,” according to Perry.
Employees have found it difficult to access crew scheduling services and obtain reassignments as a result of this issue.
Kyle Potter, the executive editor of Thrifty Traveler, described the task of coordinating staffing and scheduling for an airline with a network as large as Southwest’s as “incredibly complex,”, especially after weather delays.
“This is really as bad as it gets for an airline,”
“We’ve seen this again and again over the course of the last year or so, when airlines really just struggle especially after a storm, but there’s pretty clear skies across the country.”
Southwest’s situation began to deteriorate before the Christmas holiday. The fact that widespread cancellations continue on Monday, according to Potter,
“is a clear, clear sign that something has gone horribly wrong.”
The airline issued an apology to the staff for the confusion, which made it difficult for many to contact crew scheduling services, making it more difficult to obtain reassignments or make other modifications, or book hotel accommodations.
Additionally, Southwest provided extra pay to flight attendants who worked during the holiday.
The airline’s operations may need to be fixed for a few more days, according to Southwest CEO Bob Jordan in a statement to personnel.
“Part of what we’re suffering is a lack of tools,”
“We’ve talked an awful lot about modernizing the operation, and the need to do that. And Crew Scheduling is one of the places that we need to invest in. We need to be able to produce solutions faster.”
According to their unions, some pilots and flight attendants were forced to sleep at airports due to a lack of hotel rooms.
Crews expressed dissatisfaction with being stranded and having to wait on hold with scheduling services.
“Our customers struggled with it just as our thousands of flight attendants did. These are issues that you can’t solve with holiday pay; this is time and quality of life that we will never get back,”
said Lyn Montgomery, president of the Transport Workers Union of America Local 556, in a statement.
Both the pilot and flight attendant unions are negotiating new contracts with the company.
Airlines have been struggling to recover after losing tens of billions of dollars during the worst months of the pandemic. Airlines have been plagued by staffing shortages as they try to accommodate Americans’ return to air travel.
And Southwest is not the only airline that has struggled to meet demand.
This summer, thousands of Delta pilots picketed at major airports, demanding higher pay and highlighting staff concerns as passengers faced flight cancellations during the Fourth of July holiday rush.
Delta pilots voted last month to authorise a strike after contract negotiations stalled.
Passengers are sharing photos and videos of crowded baggage claim areas and long lines at reservation counters from Houston, Texas, and Tampa, Florida, to Cleveland, Ohio, and Denver, Colorado.
Southwest Airlines Disaster
Houston Hobby Airport
— JT (@jtmma567) December 26, 2022
According to Colorado Public Radio, hold times on Southwest’s customer service phone lines averaged more than two hours, sometimes reaching four hours.
Total collapse of Southwest Airlines in Oakland, California. I fly a lot and never seen anything like this. Every flight is cancelled/“delayed”. My flight to Phoenix was canceled because “the crew didn’t show up” pic.twitter.com/rJxbnyCf7w
— Mike Bolen | Real Estate Investor (@mikebolen) December 26, 2022
Southwest passenger Joshua Caudle said on Denver7 News,
“I’m okay with these travel situations and fly on by myself when it’s just me, but when my one-year-old has to suffer through it because of ineptitude and mismanagement, that becomes personal,”
“I’m never going to do this with that company again.”
After several delays and cancellations to flights out of Kansas City International Airport, a Southwest passenger who claims she was attempting to fly from Missouri to Denver said she missed spending Christmas with her family.
Although she was grounded, her luggage was sent to Denver without her, she tweeted.
#SouthwestAirlines you have ruined Christmas. Thanks for zero communication and then cancelling my Christmas flight. Hundreds of people waiting in long lines. We have been calling for hours and your service line does not answer. nightmarish experience Never again! pic.twitter.com/1RuGMcHu4P
— Anuj Tiwari (@anujtiwariTweet) December 25, 2022
I'm a loyal Southwest Airlines customer. I've never experienced anything like today's meltdown.
•no email, text or call about my canceled flight
•1-800-IFLY-SWA has had a busy tone for 5+ hours
•the SWA app/website won't let me to modify my itinerary
•no answer to Twitter DM
— Kevin Lewis (@KevinLewis7News) December 26, 2022
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