Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights were again delayed or canceled on Wednesday as the airline worked to fix issues from earlier in the week as summer travel picks up.
Southwest’s problems began on Monday night when a glitch with a weather data provider stopped the carrier from safely operating flights.
Southwest is largely recognized for pioneering the low-fare airline business model.
According to FlightAware, a flight monitoring website, the issue was rectified within hours, but the airline experienced its own technological issues on Tuesday, causing half of its flights to be delayed and several to be canceled.
The airline claimed that spillover from that incident was to blame for the issues on Wednesday.
According to FlightAware, about 10% of Southwest’s flights were canceled and another 19% were delayed by mid-afternoon.
“While our Tuesday technical difficulties have been fixed, we are still experiencing a limited number of cancellations and delays across our network as we try to return to regular operations,” said Dan Landson, a Southwest spokesperson.
Southwest announced on Tuesday that it was experiencing “network connectivity” issues.
Mr. Landson claimed that the problems were unconnected to Monday’s weather data issues and that there was no evidence that the airline’s computer systems had been hacked.
For a firm celebrating its 50th anniversary, the flight cancellations came at a vital moment.
Airlines are witnessing a comeback in demand after seeing demand collapse during the pandemic as coronavirus incidence in the US decline and vaccines rise.
For summer vacations, more individuals are flying, and companies, states, and cities are expanding. On Tuesday, the governors of California and New York removed the majority of pandemic restrictions.
On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration checked more than two million passengers at airports, the highest number since March 2020.
Although Southwest was fortunate in that the delays and cancellations happened during a less busy time of the week, many of the customers were nonetheless inconvenienced.
On Monday, Efia Brown and her daughter were attempting to fly back to St. Louis from Los Angeles when Southwest Airlines canceled a connecting flight while they were waiting at the Denver airport.
Ms. Brown’s kid fell ill on their earlier journey, and after receiving notification from the airline, Ms. Brown booked another trip for 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Her daughter, on the other hand, was taken to the hospital on Tuesday after vomiting many times at the airport gate. The family has remained in Denver for the time being.
Ms. Brown expressed her disappointment, saying, “This is the only airline I fly with.” “I had to hold back my emotions when this happened since it was so frustrating.”
Azavier Jackson, 29, another passenger, was dissatisfied with Southwest, which she was traveling for the first time.
Her journey from Los Angeles to Charlotte, as well as her return journey home on Monday, were both delayed.
On Monday night, Ms. Jackson’s connecting flight from Dallas to Los Angeles was repeatedly rescheduled, and she arrived at the airport at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Her main annoyance was that the airline failed to notify her about an earlier flight she might have boarded.
Ms. Jackson stated, “It’s not humanitarian to make us wait so long in the airport.” “The communication was awful. They seemed to be saying, ‘Just deal with it.’”
According to Lyn Montgomery, president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents Southwest flight attendants, the interruptions have been unpleasant on the airline’s employees as well.
She stated that the airline’s management has been sending frequent updates to flight attendants and that Southwest sought to offer accommodations for individuals who were stuck.
“We’re all victims of computers and computer problems,” she explained, “and when it happens at an airline, it’s usually massive.”
Southwest, like other airlines, experienced significant losses as a result of the epidemic, which prompted many passengers to cancel travel plans and stay at home for months at a time.
However, the airline, which transported more passengers in the United States than any other in 2019, performed better than the majority.
Southwest Airlines, which posted its first annual loss in over 50 years in 2020, entered the epidemic with less debt than any other major U.S. carrier.
It has also been remarkably untouched by the significant reduction in foreign traffic because it mostly flies within the United States.
Consequently, Southwest earned a small profit in the first three months of the year, making it the first major U.S. airline to do so since the outbreak began.
So far this year, the airline has announced that it is increasing its order for Boeing’s 737 Max by 100 planes and returning all flight attendants who had taken prolonged periods of absence in preparation for the summer travel season.
Southwest stated in May that demand was improving and that it would acquire even more Max planes this month.
However, the recovery hasn’t been without its setbacks.
According to T.S.A. data, business travel has yet to rebound substantially, and the number of individuals flying is still around 20% below 2019 levels.
Southwest, like other airlines, has had to deal with an increase in disruptive and occasionally violent conduct from customers, prompting it to postpone plans to reintroduce alcohol sales on its flights.