Southwest Airlines continued its turbulent service weekend on Monday by canceling hundreds of more flights and forcing thousands of would-be passengers to adjust their travel plans.
As of Monday at 3:30 EST, Southwest Airlines had canceled 363 flights — or about 10% of its Monday service — and delayed another 1,096 flights, according to data from Flight Aware, a flight tracking service. By comparison, the other three major airlines — American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines — had only canceled 92 flights as of the same time period.
Southwest canceled more than 1,800 flights on Saturday and Sunday as well. In the latter half of the weekend, the Dallas-based airline’s cancellations accounted for more than 28% of the day’s service.
The company has attributed the surge of cancellations to weather and air traffic control issues, although the Federal Aviation Administration has suggested other factors are at play.
“No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday. Flight delays & cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday PM due to widespread severe weather, military training, & limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville en route center,” said the FAA in a statement. “Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place.”
Others have speculated that many flights were canceled due to a strike among Southwest pilots. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, however, has distanced itself from the theory.
“[The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association] is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” said the Southwest Airlines pilot’s union. “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. They will continue to be focused on their highest priority — safety. SWAPA Pilots are true professionals and will always maintain the highest level of responsibility to their crews, their passengers, and our airline.”
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