Southwest Airlines cancels two-thirds of flights after winter snowstorm


The winter storm that disrupted hundreds of journey plans over the weekend has created an epic pile-on of flight cancellations for Southwest Airlines, leaving hundreds of households stranded, with some ready for days to fly again residence. 

Two-thirds of Southwest’s flights have been been canceled as of Monday afternoon, based on flight-tracking web site FlightAware — way over some other airline. With some 2,700 Southwest flights canceled, one other 700 have been delayed Monday, FlightAware discovered.

On Monday afternoon, the board at Dallas Love Field, the airline’s primary hub, confirmed each single arrival had been canceled, based on reporter Kelly Laco.

The airline canceled greater than 1,600 flights on Sunday, and 1,300 every day final week on Thursday and Friday.

Traveler Michael Bauzon and his household deliberate on flying out of Orlando International Airport on Friday to return residence to Indianapolis in time for Christmas on Sunday. Instead, the 4 spent the vacations in a lodge after their flight was canceled, Bauzon advised CBS affiliate WKMG, and have been again on the airport on Monday — the place they continued to attend.

“This morning we got here at 4:30 for a 7:05 flight, we looked it up, and oh it had just been canceled,” he mentioned, gesturing to a line snaking in entrance of the Southwest service counter. “It’s a four- to five-hour line … before they can get us on a flight — if they can get us on a flight,” he mentioned.

Widespread storm, outdated tech

In an announcement Monday that opened with “heartfelt apologies,” Southwest mentioned that its geography made it “uniquely” susceptible to the storm, with half of the airports by which it flies affected by winter climate.

“We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent, where Southwest is the largest carrier in 23 of the top 25 travel markets in the U.S. This forced daily changes to our flight schedule at a volume and magnitude that still has the tools our teams use to recover the airline operating at capacity,” the statement mentioned. 

“We anticipate additional changes with an already reduced level of flights as we approach the coming New Year holiday travel period,” it famous. 

The firm additionally blames an absence of expertise. “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,” CEO Bob Jordan mentioned in an inner message on Sunday that was reported by a number of media retailers and the flight attendants’ union.

Jammed telephone strains, methods

Southwest directed clients away from jammed telephone strains, noting that it was experiencing “system points” amid elevated demand.

Spokesperson Chris Perry mentioned the airline’s on-line reserving and check-in methods are nonetheless working, however have been additionally jammed due to “abnormally high” volumes of visitors on their website. “We are re-accommodating as many Customers as possible based on available space,” he advised CBS News.

As Southwest blamed technological points, the flight attendants’ union, Transit Workers Union 556, accused the airline of contributing to the issue by underinvesting in expertise for years.

“The lack of technology has left the airline relying on manual solutions and personal phone calls, leaving flight attendants on hold with Southwest Airlines for up to 17 hours at a time simply to be released to go home after their trip, or while attempting to secure a hotel room or know where their next trip will be,” the union mentioned in an announcement. “While reroutes and rescheduling are understood to be a part of the job in the airline industry, the massive scale of the failure over the past few days points to a shirking of responsibility over many years for investing in and implementing technology that could help solve for many of the issues that plague flight attendants and passengers alike.”

The union and airline have been in contract negotiations for 4 years. 

— With reporting by Zel Elvi and Kathryn Krupnik.


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