Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Southwest Airlines Continues Scrubbing Flights, Citing Weather, Staffing
By City News Service
Published October 14, 2021

Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds more flights Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 following a weekend of major service disruptions. By midmorning Monday, Southwest had canceled about 360 flights and more than 600 others were delayed. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights were canceled again recently, including about a dozen trips to and from Los Angeles International Airport, following a weekend of scrubbed flights the airline attributed to weather and other “external constraints.”

According to flight tracker FlightAware, Southwest canceled roughly 360 flights nationwide as of early Monday afternoon, or about 10% of its schedule, including five originating at LAX and eight others bound for Los Angeles.

On Sunday, more than 1,100 Southwest flights were scrubbed, according to FlightAware.

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In a statement, Southwest officials said the issues began Friday evening, leading to “numerous cancellations, primarily created by weather and other external constraints, which left aircraft and crews out of pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday.”

“Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and continued strain on our crew resources created additional cancellations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday,” according to the airline. “While we do not have specific airport numbers to share, Southwest Teams have been working diligently to restore stability to the network, and we are experiencing less disruptions on Monday. We hope to restore our full schedule as soon as possible.”

The airline also insisted, “The operational challenges were not a result of Southwest employee demonstrations, as some outlets are reporting.”

Some media reports have speculated that the issues could have been the pilots and other employees calling in sick to protest COVID-19 vaccination mandates. The Southwest Airline Pilots Association went to court last week in an effort to block the mandate. But in a statement reported by Airline Weekly, the union insisted that Southwest’s weekend of canceled flights were not the result of an employee labor action.

“We can say with confidence that our pilots are no participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” according to the union statement.

Southwest Airlines directed customers to use self-service rebooking options on Southwest.com, where updates on the status of their travel plans are available.

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“To every customer that experienced a cancellation or delay, Southwest offers our sincerest regret regarding disrupted travel plans, and we look forward to a future opportunity to demonstrate our safe, reliable, friendly, and legendary Southwest Hospitality — something that customers should always expect from Southwest Airlines,” according to the airline.

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