Thousands of Americans were stranded at American airports over the weekend after Southwest Airlines suddenly canceled almost 2,000 flights.
Southwest Airlines, one of America’s top airlines, canceled over 1,000 flights this Sunday after canceling over 800 flights on Saturday, the Washington Post has reported. Another 1,500 flights were delayed.
The airline said the unusual delays were caused by air traffic control and weather problems.
“Air Traffic Control problems and disruptive weather have led to a high amount of cancellations throughout the weekend while we try to recover from our operation. We appreciate your patience as we work to accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service waiting times are longer than normal,” Southwest Airlines this Saturday tweeted.
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
What exactly did the FAA say?
The Federal Aviation Administration admitted there were some ATC staffing and weather problems — on Friday, and not Saturday. Otherwise, the agency also blamed airline logistical problems for the canceled flights.
“The FAA said there were a “few hours” of delays this Friday afternoon due to weather and staffing issues at Jacksonville, which controls five parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.”
“No FAA staffing shortages were reported since Friday,” the FAA stated. “Some airlines continue to have scheduling challenges because of crews being out of place. Please contact these airlines for more details about their schedules.”
As tens of thousands of Americans were stranded after abrupt flight cancelations, the mass flight cancelation — which did not affect other air carriers — was speculated to be connected to a “sickout,” or protest over coronavirus vaccine mandates.
Reporter Leland Vittert said employees were protesting against the vaccine mandates.
Airline sources: mass “sickout” @FAANews center in Jacksonville – caused ripple effect and 1000+ flight cancellations mostly effecting @SouthwestAir – report “sickout” protesting #VaccineMandate
— Leland Vittert (@LelandVittert) October 10, 2021
Interestingly, the huge flight cancelations started one day after the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association filed a federal court request to temporarily block the coronavirus vaccine mandate.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, however, denied these flight cancelations were connected to action taken by the pilots.
The SWPA said that while it was aware of “operational problems affecting Southwest Airlines … we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not taking any unofficial or official job actions.”
Author: Scott Dowdy
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