Southwest Airlines cancellations are wreaking havoc

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Flight cancellations were a normal part of travel long before the pandemic. But even in the new environment caused by COVID-19, Southwest Airlines’ nearly 2,000 cancellations this weekend represented an extreme accident and a bad thing for an airline that has long prided itself on friendliness and customer service. In fact, this airline should be the one that everyone “loves”. This is thanks to everything from the sometimes foolish flight attendants to the heart in the Dallas-based airline logo. That customer-friendly atmosphere also extends to the company’s stock symbol: “LUV”.

But a lot, and we mean a amount, fewer people love the airline right now. Southwest canceled more than 1,800 flights this weekend, blocking thousands of passengers in the United States. This is the kind of thing that already generates justifiable anger among travelers. But Southwest’s explanations of why this all happened in the first place raised as many questions as they answered.

Record cancellations by Southwest Airlines

Basically, the airline blamed a combination of factors, including air traffic control issues and adverse weather conditions. In a tweet on Saturday, here’s what Southwest said: “The (air traffic control) problems and bad weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations over the weekend as we work to restore our operation.”

Ok, fair enough. But the FAA itself has also turned to Twitter, posting a statement that can essentially read as: Don’t you dare blame us or our air traffic control employees for this. “No FAA air traffic personnel shortages have been reported since Friday,” the FAA statement read. Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours on Friday afternoon due to widespread bad weather, military training and limited personnel in an en route area of ​​downtown Jacksonville. Some airlines continue to have scheduling problems due to the fact that the planes and crews are out of place. “

And what’s more? The FAA followed this tweet Sunday evening as a further defense of itself. Which he decided was important enough to pin at the top of his page:

The fault lies with time

So this is the problem of air traffic control. And the affirmation of bad weather?

One reason this claim seemed suspicious to some people is that – wouldn’t you expect some sort of equivalent wave of cancellations from Southwestern competitors like Delta and United? Mainly because the weather was bad enough to force a company like Southwest to cancel 28% of its flights this weekend? However, according to FlightAware, Delta Air Lines only reported three flights canceled on Sunday and nine for United Airlines. American Airlines reported 143. FlightAware, however, showed a huge number of cancellations of 1,019 Southwest Airlines and another 691 flight delays on Sunday evening.

A spokesperson for Southwest said so Bloomberg Sunday what happened here was the bad weather in Florida that essentially kicked off a wave of outages. And that the air traffic control problems confined to that region only aggravated the problem.

Relationships Bloomberg“Recovering from such problems is more difficult these days because there are fewer frequencies between cities in the carrier’s current program, the spokesman said.”

Rumors flying about the mandate of the vaccine

There is, meanwhile, one more complicating factor to note. One who is responsible for dozens of angry tweets and social media posts denouncing Southwest. And it is suspected that the federal mandate for the vaccine is also behind this, at least to some extent.

“Joe Biden’s Illegal Vaccination Warrant at Work!” thundered US Senator and fiery GOP Ted Cruz, in a tweet on Sunday evening. “Suddenly, we are short of pilots and air traffic controllers.”

At the moment you can find tons of angry comments like the one on social media. That’s why the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association decided to step in, releasing the following statement on Friday:

SWAPA is aware of the operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of problems, but we can confidently say that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial labor action.

Our pilots will continue to overcome poor SWA management planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and will remain the most productive pilots in the world. They will continue to focus on their top priority: safety. SWAPA pilots are true professionals and will always maintain the highest level of responsibility towards their crews, passengers and our airline.

However, that assurance that the vaccine’s mandate didn’t cause a working action here wasn’t enough to affect everyone. Here’s a reason why: Friday, just a few days ago, guess who went to court to stop Southwest from enforcing a vaccination mandate?

None other than the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.

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