Flight cancelations from Southwest Airlines keep coming and travelers have had to change or ditch plans altogether. Two travelers in Austin, Texas found themselves without a flight.
After 80 destinations were canceled coming out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Jillianne and Heather had a destination to get to. Washington D.C. isn’t that far from Austin, Texas…just a cool 20 hours or so.
Without a flight, the friends got a rental car. A 36 hour rental for $450. Hopefully, they are able to get a refund from Southwest, but that has not happened yet. The airline is going to have an issue with flight cancellations in the coming days, this is likely to be the solution for many travelers.
While the cancellations continue, Southwest had a statement on the delays and cancellations. In the statement, the airline cited weather issues in Florida and the surrounding region. Those issues have been “compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues.”
While Jillianne and Heather embark on their trip, they wait for word from Southwest. They have yet to get in touch with customer service about their own issues. In fact, they only knew their flight was canceled due to checking the app.
This weekend, almost 2,000 flights were canceled by the airlines giant. With most of the flights canceled on Sunday, issues began on Saturday. Despite many rumors about worker strikes or vaccine mandate backlash, Southwest says it is neither of those things.
“We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to rest our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers.”
Southwest Flight Operations Chief Blames FAA Program
While weather and air traffic control issues were cited as the reasons for the cancellations, a note from one man gives an interesting insight into the ordeal. The Flight Operations Chief blames the FAA. Alan Kasher pointed out a new air traffic management program for mass cancellations.
“We experienced significant impact in the Florida airports [Friday] evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations,” the memo read.
This isn’t the only time this year issues like this have come up. In the Summer, Southwest had to stop flights as well. That was due to not having enough workers. As travel demands go up, the airline was unprepared. That has led to issues with hiring new employees.
The Pilots Association said that fatigue is at high levels. Staffing issues and bad scheduling have made things worse. “Our Pilots will continue to overcome SWA management’s poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world,” the union said.
Things don’t look good for Southwest. There is no way to know when the issues will end. If the weather is the issue, that should help ease problems as rain and storms move on.