After three continuous days of mass flight cancellations and delays, Southwest Airlines (LUV) announced on October 13, 2021, that it had resumed normal operations.
The airline also extended their apologies to affected customers in their online statement, saying that it “looks forward to welcoming them back on a future Southwest flight.”
It has been a harrowing week for the Dallas-based airline. Over the weekend of October 9-10, 2021, 1,019 Southwest Airlines (LUV) flights (28% of flights) were cancelled, and 691 flights (19%) were delayed, according to FlightAware, a site that tracks commercial flights.
On Saturday, October 9, 2021, Southwest cancelled 808 flights while 1,187 flights were delayed.
The airline pointed to air traffic control issues and poor weather in Florida for the delay and cancellations.
The flight cancellations continued on October 11, 2021, as a further 360 flights were cancelled (10% of the flight’s daily operations), and more than 800 were delayed.
On October 12, 2021, as the airline worked to stabilize its operations, there were approximately 90 system-wide cancellations out of the airline’s almost 3,300 flights scheduled for the day, according to Southwest’s online statement.
In total, there were more than 2,200 flights cancelled by the airline and approximately 2,800 delayed.
Amid speculation by some members of the public over social media that the disruption on operations were caused by airline staff protesting over Southwest’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the airline stands by the reason of poor weather and air traffic control issues causing the flight cancellations and delay.
In an emailed statement to AeroTime, Southwest said that, “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. “
The airline has been apologetic in its statement announcing their return to normal operations:
“We’ve built a reputation around safe, reliable, friendly air travel, delivered with legendary Southwest Hospitality, and we’re sorry to anyone whose experience did not reflect that over the past several days.”
“We extended our deepest apologies to Customers who have been impacted and look forward to welcoming them back on a future Southwest flight.”