Southwest Airlines cancels over 1,000 flights, says weather, air traffic control issues in Florida triggered disruptions
The flight-tracking website FlightAware.com shows that Southwest canceled 28% of its flights as of Sunday morning while hundreds more face delays.
More than 800 Southwest flights were canceled Saturday and upwards of 1,100 flights were delayed, according to FlightAware.
For comparison, American Airlines has the second-most cancellations Sunday with 66.
The Dallas-based airline said Saturday that the problem stems from air traffic control issues and weather.
In a more detailed statement issued Sunday, Southwest elaborated on how “weather challenges” and “unexpected air traffic control issues” in Florida on Friday created a ripple effect of nationwide delays and cancelations that spilled into the weekend.
“We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening … With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged,” the statement said.
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
The Federal Aviation Administration also told ABC News that it attributed a few flight cancellations and delays on Friday to severe weather, military training and limited staffing at the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center.
“Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place,” an FAA spokesperson said in a statement.
No air traffic staffing shortages were reported over the weekend, the agency said.
Southwest pointed affected customers to its self-service rebooking options on southwest.com.
The airline said it is working to recover operations.
Soooo don’t fly southwest today! I’ve never seen so many cancelled flights! They’re saying it’s due to “weather” LOL! Okay I’ll pretend I believe it. 👌🏻 pic.twitter.com/w1msClCZXm
— Elyssa Mai (@Elyssamai) October 10, 2021
Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it screened more than 2.1 million people at airport security checkpoints Friday, a volume that hasn’t been seen since early August.
JUST IN: @TSA officers screened 2,169,974 people at airport security checkpoints yesterday, Friday, Oct. 8. The last time checkpoint volume was this high was Aug. 1, when 2,238,462 people were screened. (Aug. 8 came close at 2,168,264) It’s a fall holiday weekend folks.
— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) October 9, 2021
The federal government acknowledges Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday as a federal holiday, meaning millions of workers have a three-day weekend and were more likely to book travel.
Over a three-week period in the summer, Southwest Airlines struggled with thousands of delays and hundreds of canceled flights because of computer problems, staffing shortages and bad weather. American Airlines also grappled with a surge in delays at the time.
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