“ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation,” Southwest wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
“We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected customers, and customer service wait times are longer than usual,” it continued.
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. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/o1scQJ5lLb
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021
As per the FlightAware data, a flight-tracking website that tracks the cancellation and postpone, Southwest has cancelled flights 347 and delayed 320 today. And a total of 1124 flights were cancelled and 1198 flights got delayed on Sunday alone. On Saturday, the airline had called off 808 flights while 1,187 flights were delayed.
In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said that since Friday, air traffic-related cancellations have not occurred. The agency said that owing to the aircraft and crews being out of place, the airlines are facing delays.
“Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training and limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center,” the FAA said.
The impact of the announcement could be observed on the dashboard of Quantale as Southwest Airlines’ social engagement amongst the users of Twitter and Reddit spiked almost 356 percent whereas the stock’s price fell on Friday, closing the intraday at $53.92 from $54.04 on Thursday.
3.20 million shares of the stock exchanged hands, 4.06 million below the average of 7.26 million.
Southwest’s stock plummeted as much as 3% in the pre-market, managing to open its intraday at $51.99 today.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, which sought a temporary restraining order against the airline’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, released a statement emphasising that it was unrelated to the cancellations and delays.
“SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to several issues, but we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” the organization said in a statement on Saturday.
“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,” it said.
Last week, the airline made it compulsory for employees to get vaccinated, which has been speculated as a possible reason behind the weekend flight bewilderment.
“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination directive,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO said in a statement. “I encourage all Southwest Employees to meet the federal directive, as quickly as possible, since we value every individual and want to ensure job security for all.”
Whereas many were linking the mass cancellation with the vaccine mandate.
One of them was Senator Ted Cruz who took to Twitter and alleged that the mass flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines are due to an ‘illegal vaccine mandate at work’, which left thousands of passengers stranded and upset.
Josh Barnett who is running for election to the U.S. House to represent Arizona’s 7th Congressional District also hinted at the Vaccine Policy of the airlines and said “Stop laying off people for making their own health decisions and you won’t have this problem!”
Many customers flooded Twitter with the complaints and troubles they felt due to flight cancellations.
“Very disappointed in Southwest Airlines. We’re missing our daughters’ college game because you struggle to be the reliable airlines you used to be. Over 2 hour wait times with customer service; no online solutions/options. Southwest to Southlate to simply don’t bother, said Brian Staab, an IT professional from Folsom, CA.
Another customer–Caitlin Gallagher on Twitter said, “ @SouthwestAir I was on hold for 5 hours trying to get travel rescheduled for myself and my 5-year-old. Notified in the middle of the night that our return flight home was cancelled. No answer after 5 hours, no response to an email. Please have someone contact me ASAP.”
The airline replied to her issue.