Southwest Airlines cancels more than 1,000 weekend flights

Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, blaming the woes on air traffic control issues and weather.

Associated Press

Oct 10, 2021, 7:14 PM

Updated 1,017 days ago

Share:

Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, blaming the woes on air traffic control issues and weather.
The airline canceled more than 1,000 flights, or 28% of its schedule, as of 5 p.m. ET Sunday, according to flight tracker FlightAware. That was the highest rate by far of the major U.S. airlines. Next in line were Allegiant and Spirit, which had respectively canceled 5% and 4% of their flights on Sunday, according to the flight tracker. American Airlines canceled 2% of its flights.
Southwest Airlines said in an emailed statement that it had experienced weather challenges in its Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, which were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region. Those issues triggered delays and prompted significant cancellations for the airlines beginning Friday evening.
“We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers," said Southwest Airlines. “With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged."
The company said that it's allowing customers to explore self-service rebooking options on Southwest.com, where they can get updates on the status of their travel.
However, Henry H. Harteveldt, president and travel industry analyst at The Atmosphere Research Group, based in San Francisco, points to other causes for the cancellations.
First, he says Southwest has scheduled more flights than it can handle, a problem that started in June. He also noted that Southwest operates what’s known as a point-to-point route network, and when a delay occurs, it “cascades” along the remaining flight segments. That's because, for example, a Southwest flight departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the airline's home base of Dallas may make multiple stops along the way.
But Harteveldt says the most troubling reason is the likelihood that some pilots who oppose Southwest's decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations are participating in an illegal job action where they call in sick or are engaging in a “work slowdown.”
In a statement Saturday, the airline’s pilot union, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said that's not the case.
“SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions," it said.
Harteveldt noted Southwest's woes could linger and affect its fourth quarter financial performance.
“All of this is happening as people are in the midst of booking their Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year holiday travel,” he said. “It’s very possible that some people who might normally book on Southwest may see this news and choose to fly other airlines.”
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO
(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)


More from News 12
1:25
Police: 1 hospitalized in afternoon Mount Vernon shooting

Police: 1 hospitalized in afternoon Mount Vernon shooting

1:56
Thursday brings another unsettled weather day, but better forecast follows

Thursday brings another unsettled weather day, but better forecast follows

1:38
Best of Westchester 2024 Party brings the county together for its biggest talents

Best of Westchester 2024 Party brings the county together for its biggest talents

0:41
Biden delivers solemn call to defend democracy as he lays out his reasons for quitting race

Biden delivers solemn call to defend democracy as he lays out his reasons for quitting race

1:42
North Rockland man to compete in Olympic Games, representing Ireland in shot put

North Rockland man to compete in Olympic Games, representing Ireland in shot put

1:43
Poughkeepsie residents fight to keep adult shelter out of neighborhood

Poughkeepsie residents fight to keep adult shelter out of neighborhood

1:36
Greenburgh to fix one of its worst intersections

Greenburgh to fix one of its worst intersections

1:23
Officials criticize Social Security Administration for sudden closure of Newburgh offices

Officials criticize Social Security Administration for sudden closure of Newburgh offices

0:58
2 Croton-on-Hudson housing proposals draw ire from some residents

2 Croton-on-Hudson housing proposals draw ire from some residents

0:38
Wildlife photographer helps hawk in distress in Rockland County

Wildlife photographer helps hawk in distress in Rockland County

0:30
Residents question water tower repairs in Unionville after county violation notice

Residents question water tower repairs in Unionville after county violation notice

0:22
North Salem School Board places superintendent on administrative leave

North Salem School Board places superintendent on administrative leave

0:28
Wallkill man arrested for DWI, drug possession in Ulster County

Wallkill man arrested for DWI, drug possession in Ulster County

0:37
$5,000 reward offered for information on suspect in fatal shooting

$5,000 reward offered for information on suspect in fatal shooting

1:05
Headlines: Cocaine sentencing in Port Jervis, barn fire death, cause of plane crash released

Headlines: Cocaine sentencing in Port Jervis, barn fire death, cause of plane crash released

4:23
Sen. Bob Menendez to resign from office Aug. 20 following corruption conviction

Sen. Bob Menendez to resign from office Aug. 20 following corruption conviction

1:49
Mamaroneck tackles chronic flooding with new study and projects

Mamaroneck tackles chronic flooding with new study and projects

0:28
Susan Siegel projected winner in Yorktown council election

Susan Siegel projected winner in Yorktown council election

0:17
20-story mural completes transformation of downtown New Rochelle

20-story mural completes transformation of downtown New Rochelle

0:14
LEGOLAND New York seeks master model builder in 'Brick Factor Model Builder' competition

LEGOLAND New York seeks master model builder in 'Brick Factor Model Builder' competition