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HomeScience & TechnologySouthwest Airways cancels hundreds of flights after winter snowstorm

Southwest Airways cancels hundreds 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 Airways, 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, in keeping with flight-tracking web site FlightAware — excess of every 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 Subject, the airline’s primary hub, confirmed each single arrival had been canceled, in keeping with 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 Worldwide Airport on Friday to return residence to Indianapolis in time for Christmas on Sunday. As a substitute, 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 received right here at 4:30 for a 7:05 flight, we appeared it up, and oh it had simply been canceled,” he mentioned, gesturing to a line snaking in entrance of the Southwest service counter. “It is a four- to five-hour line … earlier than they will get us on a flight — if they will 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Widespread storm, outdated tech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” weak to the storm, with half of the airports through which it flies affected by winter climate.

“We have been totally staffed and ready for the approaching vacation weekend when the extreme climate swept throughout the continent, the place Southwest is the most important provider in 23 of the highest 25 journey markets in the U.S. This pressured day by day adjustments to our flight schedule at a quantity and magnitude that also has the instruments our groups use to recuperate the airline working at capability,” the statement mentioned. 

“We anticipate extra adjustments with an already lowered degree of flights as we method the approaching New Yr vacation journey interval,” it famous. 

The corporate additionally blames an absence of expertise. “A part of what we’re struggling is an absence of instruments. We have talked an terrible lot about modernizing the operation, and the necessity to do this,” 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 cellphone traces, methods

Southwest directed clients away from jammed cellphone traces, 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 excessive” volumes of site visitors on their website. “We’re re-accommodating as many Clients as potential based mostly on out there area,” he advised CBS Information.

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

“The shortage of expertise has left the airline counting on handbook options and private cellphone calls, leaving flight attendants on maintain with Southwest Airways for as much as 17 hours at a time merely to be launched to go residence after their journey, or whereas trying to safe a lodge room or know the place their subsequent journey can be,” the union mentioned in an announcement. “Whereas reroutes and rescheduling are understood to be part of the job within the airline business, the huge scale of the failure over the previous few days factors to a shirking of accountability over a few years for investing in and implementing expertise that might assist remedy for most of the points 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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