Southwest Airlines has cancelled flights at the end of the year and many travelers are unhappy about it. They say that Southwest has not communicated enough about the changes and cancellations that they are making, especially when they are affecting flights that are scheduled to be en route to destinations.
Staffing shortages plagued airlines during the pandemic
As Christmas draws to a close, the airline industry is dealing with more flight cancellations and disruptions. A number of airlines – including Southwest and Delta – have canceled flights due to staffing shortages and weather-related issues. Some have also cut their routes.
Air travelers are struggling to get home from the holidays. Flights have been canceled for days at a time. This has created delays that extend to transit agencies and rail networks. The situation is not unique to the United States, but it has been a particularly tough time for airlines.
Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights. That was more than any other airline. It was largely caused by high winds and weather-related delays at its busiest hub. They were able to get their operation back on track after five days, but it’s not yet back to normal.
Airlines are struggling to fill the staffing gaps left by the pandemic. This includes mechanics, technicians, and pilots. In addition, many health workers are working with mild symptoms, and are able to return to work.
Health officials are changing guidance regarding the isolation period for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus. They are now recommending a minimum of five days of isolation for workers who have not gotten a vaccination. Countries around the world, including Spain, have reduced the quarantine period.
Airlines and public transportation agencies continue to struggle to cope with a rise in COVID-19 cases. These infections have resulted in delays and flight cancellations, and some airlines have slashed their numbers.
One expert on the subject, Kathleen Bangs, told CNN that the airline industry has never had such a long streak of disruptions. She said that it was a shock to the system.
Airlines have also lost tens of billions of dollars. During the worst of the pandemic, airlines encouraged thousands of workers to quit. But that doesn’t appear to be a solution to the problems.
The Federal Aviation Administration has responded by spending $50 billion in taxpayer money. However, the airlines say the government hasn’t done enough to help them refill their staffing gaps.
Long lines to speak with representatives on Southwest’s customer service lines
It’s been a rough year for airline customers, and Southwest is no exception. They’ve been hit with flight cancellations and delays in a big way. Several flights have been canceled in the last few days alone, and a lot more are scheduled to be delayed.
The Southwest website is down and phone lines are busy. The airline says that they’re fully staffed to answer calls, but customers say that it’s not always easy to speak with an agent.
On Monday, there were more than 2,400 Southwest flights that were canceled, and a spokesperson for the company acknowledged that it’s taking a lot of effort to deal with customers. Some of them are waiting for 17 hours or more to talk to an agent.
Other airlines, such as American and Delta, have been hit with a number of problems of their own. They’ve also faced a number of flight cancellations over the past several weeks.
For example, there have been a number of reports about Southwest Airlines’ lost baggage. Customers are complaining about how long it takes to get their bags after they’ve been lost.
There are a number of ways that Southwest Airlines can help customers who are stranded, including providing hotels for those who have nowhere to stay. Additionally, the airline is offering triple pay for phone agents.
In fact, Southwest has canceled two-thirds of its flights, and has warned that more will be canceled before the end of the month. This is the highest rate of flight cancellations that Southwest has had in a number of years.
As of 10:50 p.m. ET, more than 2,400 Southwest flights had been canceled, and more than 6,120 flights were delayed.
Several passengers were frustrated with the length of time it took to talk to an agent. Others reported that they were able to book new flights, but that it was difficult to get a refund for a cancelled one.
A couple in Chicago waited in a very long line on Saturday afternoon to rebook a flight from Denver to Chicago. After the line had gotten so long that they decided to buy new tickets instead, they were eventually able to board their flight.
FAA concerns about Southwest’s oversight efforts
The airline industry is no stranger to bureaucracy and politics. A recent FAA advisory prompted Southwest Airlines to make an about face and cancel all flights on New Year’s Eve, but the airline has a record for doing a good job of oversight. Among the most notable were an unscheduled boarding, a lengthy baggage claim line, and a delayed flight that pushed passengers’ resolutions to the extreme.
Several of the larger airlines have been plagued by delays of their own, and a number of smaller carriers are operating at a loss. On top of this, many of these smaller companies are looking to boost their bottom lines by entering a new business sector. Among the latest entrants are Skyjet, a startup that hopes to fend off competition from large airlines by providing low-cost flights to European destinations. Similarly, Virgin Atlantic is launching a new airline from London’s Heathrow airport to the likes of Singapore, and Air Berlin plans to offer short-haul services from Frankfurt.
On the other hand, a recent study by the nonprofit air travel information website Flightstats found that many commercial aircraft – including those operated by smaller carriers – lack traffic alert systems, which may explain why they have been unable to fill their seats. Also, some of these aircraft have not yet been equipped with the most advanced technology, such as GPS final approach routes, which is a problem for those wishing to avoid airport congestion. In addition, a recent study from the FAA revealed that the majority of airports in the United States operate under an outdated air traffic control system, and that the FAA is in the midst of a major overhaul. Regardless of the airline industry’s current status, the FAA has a duty to do its best to keep the skies safe for everyone. Whether or not the industry is ready for such a change remains to be seen. Until then, all eyes are on the locals. Those in the know have already weighed in on the matter. Hopefully, Southwest and other airlines will take note of the aviation community’s concerns and do their part to make the skies safe for all.
Communicating better about cancellations and flight changes
If you’re a Southwest Airlines customer, you’ve likely heard the bad news: the airline is canceling all flights on New Year’s Eve. That means if you want to go home for the holidays, you’ll have to wait until January 1. Fortunately, Southwest is communicating better about flight cancellations and changes, which should help ease some of the holiday headaches.
The storm that swept through parts of the country this week caused chaos in airports around the country. A number of airlines, including Southwest, suffered from cancellations. Many people were left stranded, waiting hours in long lines at ticket counters. Some of them even lost luggage and had to scramble for alternative forms of transportation.
The airline has apologized for the disruptions. It said it was a combination of factors, such as bad weather in Florida and a brief problem with air traffic control in the area. Nonetheless, the company has continued to cut its schedule, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Thousands of Southwest customers were left stranded in airports across the country. One couple from Denver, who was supposed to fly to Detroit, ended up in Las Vegas. Another couple, from Milwaukee, was trying to get home for Christmas.
Southwest has blamed a combination of problems, including technology issues and a staffing shortage. Its customer service department has been unable to get in touch with management, causing frustration to fliers.
Although it has been able to reschedule a lot of flights, the carrier has still had trouble making it up to speed. According to FlightAware, more than a third of Tuesday’s flights had already been cancelled.
Despite its efforts, Southwest isn’t expected to solve the holiday travel problem anytime soon. Ultimately, travelers should expect to be rebooked and receive reimbursement for any expenses incurred. However, Southwest hasn’t explained exactly how these expenses will be covered, or when they’ll be paid.
For now, if you’re stranded, you can try to find a hotel or a rental car. You may need to book ahead, though, because many of the rental car companies haven’t been able to get their inventory ready.
Southwest Airlines has struggled more than any other airline to navigate the Christmas holiday rush than any other airline. A historic winter storm has tangled holiday travel and brought dangerous conditions to a large portion of the United States.
According to flight tracker Flight Aware, Southwest canceled more than 2,900 flights on Monday, or at least 70% of its day’s schedule, and more than 2,500 flights on Tuesday, or at least 60% of its schedule, as of 9:10 a.m. ET. People have been stuck at airports all over the country due to the chaos, and many of them have no idea when they can get home or where their bags are. The disruptions only add to the chaos.
Southwest had more canceled flights on Monday than Delta, which had 265 canceled flights, making it the second-most canceled flights by a US airline. In the past week, large-scale cancellations have also been ordered by other airlines.
Chris Perry, a spokesperson for Southwest, told NPR that the airline’s disruptions are the result of the lingering effects of the winter storm. He added that Southwest hopes to “stabilize and improve its operation” with more favorable weather conditions.
According to Perry, additional difficulties with “connecting flight crews to their schedules” have exacerbated the airline’s inability to accommodate the holiday rush. Employees have had difficulty obtaining reassignments and accessing crew scheduling services as a result of this issue.
Kyle Potter, leader manager of Frugal Voyager, called it an inconceivably intricate errand for a carrier with an organization as immense as Southwest’s to facilitate staffing and planning, especially after weather conditions delays.
However, the airline appears to have few obvious justifications for canceling so many flights given that many locations experienced clear skies on Monday. “Full-blown meltdown,” as Potter describes it.
Potter stated, “This is really as bad as it gets for an airline.” Over the course of the past year or so, we’ve seen this a lot: airlines really struggle, especially after a storm, but there are pretty clear skies all over the country.
The carrier said in an explanation Monday that it will fly around 33% of its timetable for the following a few days as it keeps on recuperating its tasks.
The cancellations, delays, and responses from customer service, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, were “unacceptable.”
In a statement, the US Department of Transportation stated, “The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”
Holiday travelers find their plans disrupted Southwest’s situation began to unravel prior to the Christmas holiday. Potter stated, “It’s a clear, clear sign something has gone horribly wrong” that there have been continued large-scale cancellations on Monday.
Passengers are sharing photos and videos of overflowing baggage claim areas and lengthy lines at reservation counters from Houston, Texas, to Tampa, Florida, Cleveland, Ohio, and Denver, Colorado. According to Colorado Public Radio, hold times at Southwest’s customer service phone line averaged more than two hours, sometimes reaching four hours.
Southwest passenger Joshua Caudle told Denver7 News that he was unsure when they would be able to leave Denver. “I’m okay with these travel situations and fly on by myself when it’s just me, but when my one-year-old has to suffer through it because of ineptitude and mismanagement, that becomes personal,” he said. I will never do this again with that company.
A Southwest passenger who claims she was trying to fly from Missouri to Denver said that she missed spending Christmas with her family because of multiple flight delays and cancellations from the Kansas City International Airport. She wrote on Twitter that her luggage was sent to Denver without her, despite the fact that she was grounded.
After losing tens of billions of dollars during the worst months of the pandemic, airlines have struggled to recover from the new demand. Airlines have struggled to accommodate Americans’ return to air travel due to staffing shortages. What’s more, Southwest has not been the main aircraft to vacillate under the interest.
During the summer, thousands of Delta pilots protested at major airports, highlighting staff concerns and demanding higher pay as passengers faced flight cancellations during the Fourth of July holiday rush. After contract negotiations were put on hold last month, Delta pilots voted to authorize a strike.
Potter stated, “Every airline across the country, including Southwest, got really small at the beginning of the pandemic when travel basically fell off a cliff.” “They have struggled as travel has rebounded to grow back up to 100% and they’re still not there.” Southwest was one of the airlines that experienced this kind of decline.