Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights this weekend, leaving many to speculate about pilots staying home to quietly protest COVID jab mandates. In addition, the massive number of flight cancellations are forcing Southwest agents to scramble to find replacement flights for thousands of unhappy customers whose travel plans have been disrupted by the cancelations.
DEVELOPING: Southwest airlines cancels 1,000 more flights, leaving travelers stranded as some speculate vax mandate strike
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) October 10, 2021
Southwest is blaming bad weather, air traffic control issues, and a staff shortage for the cancelations. However, customers are left questioning the authenticity of the “bad weather” excuse, as reports about great weather with clear skies are coming out of Florida.
The weather in Florida is great this weekend. Clear skies. pic.twitter.com/GDvF6kRlqj
— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) October 10, 2021
CNBC reports – “I know this is incredibly difficult for all of you, and our customers are not happy,” Alan Kasher, executive vice president of daily flight operations, told staff in a note on Sunday, which was seen by CNBC.
The airline blamed initial problems on bad weather and an “FAA-imposed air traffic management program.”
“Although we were staffed for the weekend, we could not anticipate the significant disruption that was created from unexpected ATC issues and bad weather across our Florida stations,” said Kasher.
Other airlines canceled relatively few flights. Southwest did not comment on the disparity.
The Federal Aviation Administration said there were a “few hours” of flight delays on Friday afternoon because of severe weather and staffing issues at Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center, which controls airspace in five parts of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina,