By now, you’ve likely already heard of the vast number of Southwest flights being canceled daily since Friday. Tens of thousands of customers are stranded, unable to get to their destinations. People have lost their flights and the money spent on vacations and travel that is no fault of their own.
Southwest’s response? Something akin to “Our bad, thanks for being patient” while the ticket counter is littered with disgruntled customers and devoid of employees.
We understand flight cancelations are frustrating, and we regret your frustrations were compounded with the lack of assistance at the airport. Feel free to DM your confirmation number, if we can still lend a hand, Kevin. -Tayler
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 10, 2021
Southwest tweeted their official response on Saturday, “ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual.”
If your travel was affected, please explore self-service rebooking options by checking your flight status on https://t.co/GiF91yLJcx. (2/2)
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021
If these issues were at hand, why did no other airline report any difficulties of the same?
On Saturday, Southwest canceled 808 flights (24% of scheduled flights) versus Delta, who canceled 16 (>1%), United with 11 (>1%), and American with 66 (2%). Numbers of cancelled flights were roughly the same on Sunday: Southwest – 1007 flights (24%); Delta – 3 (>1%); United – 6 (>1%); and American – 63 (2%).
One Mile at a Time points out the fact that Southwest has been having staffing issues since the pandemic, not being able to meet the escalating demand that is now at their door. They also claim that several pilots called in sick over the weekend, which could have a ripple effect due to the already low staffing problem.
Not only did no other airline experience delays as a result of weather conditions and/or air traffic control issues, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said they had no hand in it at all.
Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place. (2/2)
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) October 10, 2021
The FAA tweeted yesterday, “No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday” and that “some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place.”
Mainstream media has made an effort to ensure the public that there is no organized or unorganized movement at play, and it’s just a matter of coincidence. Chris Mainz, a spokesperson for Southwest, very clearly told the Associated Press, “The weekend challenges were not a result of Southwest employee demonstrations.”
Speculation rapidly surfaced, people believing that something more significant is happening than what is being sold by the mainstream media.
— Leland Vittert (@LelandVittert) October 10, 2021
Reporter Leland Vittert boldly tweeted that he has airline sources that confirmed there was a mass sickout. “Airline sources: mass “sickout” @FAANews center in Jacksonville — caused [a] ripple effect and 1000+ flight cancellations mostly effecting @SouthwestAir — report “sickout” protesting #VaccineMandate.”
This past Friday, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) asked a court to block the new vaccine requirement. This is in addition to the already filed lawsuit that claims Southwest is violating labor laws.
SWAPA did issue a statement, however, denying any intentional actions on behalf of pilots. “SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties that affected SWA yesterday, but our Pilots are focused on the safety of our crews, passengers, and overcoming operational challenges, not unofficial job actions.”
SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties that affected SWA yesterday but our Pilots are focused on the safety of our crews, passengers, and overcoming operational challenges, not unofficial job actions. To read our latest statement, click here: https://t.co/YkDim72SMJ https://t.co/Tx46PQRjZG
— Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (@swapapilots) October 10, 2021
According to the Associated Press, SWAPA also told them that “Southwest’s operation ‘has become brittle and subject to massive failures under the slightest pressure’ because of a lack of support from the company. The union complained about the ‘already strained relationship’ between it and the company.”
It is unclear why there are such discrepancies, but there are too many coincidences to be ignored.
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