Southwest Airlines cancels 145 Denver flights in nationwide mess
Southwest Airlines passengers experienced turmoil on Sunday as the airline canceled more than 1,000 flights nationwide, including nearly 150 flights to or from Denver, according to flight tracking site Flight Aware .
Southwest blamed the massive cancellations on “air traffic control issues and disruptive weather conditions,” in a Facebook post on Saturday night. The company said it expected to see a high volume of canceled flights throughout the weekend as it struggles to get flights back on track.
Representatives for Southwest did not immediately return a request for comment on Sunday, and it was not immediately clear whether staff shortages or a recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate were affecting the cancellations.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the Southwest pilots union, said on Saturday that none of its members were participating in a strike or other union action.
“Our pilots will continue to overcome the poor planning of the SWA leadership, as well as any external operational challenges, and will remain the most productive pilots in the world,” the union said in the statement.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on Sunday that it experienced “limited staff” at an air traffic control center in Jacksonville, Fla. On Friday.
“Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread extreme weather conditions, military training and limited personnel in an area of the Jacksonville air traffic control center.” said spokesperson Steve Kulm. “Some airlines continue to have scheduling issues due to planes and crews out of place. “
He did not immediately respond to further questions about the cause of the Jacksonville understaffing on Friday.
According to Flight Aware, Southwest canceled 1,006 flights across the country on Sunday and 808 on Saturday, including 145 through Denver today and 102 on Saturday.
Louie Means woke up at 4 a.m. to a text from Southwest informing him that his wife’s and his wife’s 11 a.m. flight from Destin, Fla. To Houston, Texas had been canceled. After calling airline customer service and hearing that the estimated wait time to speak to a representative was over two hours, he decided to just extend his rental car and take the nine hours back to Houston.
“I feel lucky though, some of these people in Denver are stranded,” Means said over the road on the phone Sunday. “At least we’ll go home.
While he and his wife drove, Means spent nearly six hours on standby with Southwest customer service, he said.
“We finally got tired of waiting,” he said. “He said, ‘We’re sorry for the inconvenience, we appreciate your work’ – and I’m thinking, ‘Really? “”