Southwest Airlines Continues To Struggle

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan apologized to passengers Wednesday via a CNN story, but the message may be too little, too late.

A widely circulated social media post by one of the airline’s pilots gives a detailed look at what is happening behind-the-scenes to cause the meltdown at the airline. 

The airline has canceled more than 15,700 flights since winter weather began disrupting air travel on Dec. 22, including more than 2,500 flights, or 62% of its planned flights on Wednesday, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking service.

The problems are not weather-related, says U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He said on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that “meltdown” was “the only word I can think of to describe what’s happening at Southwest Airlines.”



“We are past the point where they could say that this is a weather-driven issue,” Buttigieg said. “What this indicates is a system failure, and they need to make sure that these stranded passengers get to where they need to go and that they are provided adequate compensation.”

A social media post reportedly written Wednesday by a Southwest pilot is being shared widely on Facebook. He blames the airlines’ software system, which he describes as “fried,” for the chaos.

“Planes are parked,” he writes. “Crews are stranded in the airports with the passengers, volunteering to take the passengers in the parked planes but the software won’t accept it. Phone lines are overwhelmed for both passenger and crews.”

Pilots and crews are ready to fly, but the company has told them that the system needs a reset and as a result are running only one-third of scheduled flights. 

“Gate agents are in tears,” he says. “They’ve been yelled at, cussed at, slapped and spit on. Flight attendants have been taking a beating. The frontline employees have had little support or communication. Terminals are standing room only with people having been there for days. Pilot lounges are packed with pilots ready to fly and nowhere to go.”

He called the situation “embarrassing” and says in 24 years, he has never seen anything like this. 

“I’m going on my second of three days off, still stuck on the east coast and still expected to show up in the morning with no schedule," he says. “And I’m willing to fly all day if needed. Because that’s nothing compared to the passengers needing meds in bags that are lost and mothers traveling with kids, having been stuck for the same amount of days in the terminal.”

He said the rumors that there is a lack of crews and pilots are staging sick calls are untrue. 

"This is a computer system meltdown,” he writes. “Thousands of crew members are sitting in hotels and airports with nowhere to go. This airline has failed miserably.”

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