Widespread cancellations by Southwest Airlines disrupt weekend travel

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday and just over 800 on Saturday, wreaking havoc on weekend travel plans for...


Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday and just over 800 on Saturday, wreaking havoc on weekend travel plans for thousands of passengers.

The airline had canceled 24% of all scheduled flights on Saturday, according to FlightAware, a tracking service. Sunday noon, South West had already canceled 28% of flights scheduled for the day, with hundreds of additional flights delayed.

“We encountered weather issues at our Florida airports early in the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and causing significant cancellations“The airline said in a statement on Sunday.” We continued to work diligently throughout the weekend to reset our operations with a focus on repositioning planes and crews to take care of our customers. “

South West Added that recovering from the disruption was more difficult than usual as it operated fewer flights than before the pandemic, complicating efforts to reschedule passengers.

“We know the flight of frustration cancellations let’s create for our customers and our employees and we apologize, and we thank everyone again for your patience as we work first to be safe, and then to be as quick as possible in resolving interrupted plans.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on Sunday that it briefly suffered from a shortage of air traffic control personnel, but the issue had long been resolved.

“Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread extreme weather conditions, military training and limited personnel in an area of ​​the Jacksonville air traffic control center.” , the agency said. “Some Airlines companies continue to face planning problems due to the lack of planes and crews. “

Indeed, the disturbances of the weekend seem to be limited to South West. American Airlines had the second-highest number of cancellations among U.S. carriers on Sunday, with less than 70 flights – about 2% of those scheduled for the day – affected.

South West suffered in the same way generalized disturbances over several days in June, which he attributes to technological issues, both internally and with a third-party weather data provider. Delays prevented crews from reaching the flights they were supposed to work on, compounding the problem.

In a statement on Saturday, the Southwest Pilots Union said it was aware of the widespread cancellations. Last week, the union opposed the airline’s recent announcement that it would make coronavirus vaccination mandatory, but said the cancellations were not the result of any protests by pilots.

“We can say with certainty that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial action,” the union, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said in the statement.

The union said its members “will continue to overcome” management’s “poor planning” and other outside challenges, adding that Southwest pilots “always maintain the highest level of accountability to their crews, passengers and our community. airline company”.

A union representing Southwest flight attendants did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What to know about Covid-19 booster injections

The FDA has cleared booster injections for a small group of people who received their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago. This group includes: Pfizer beneficiaries who are 65 years of age or older or who live in long-term care facilities; adults who are at high risk for severe Covid-19 due to an underlying medical problem; healthcare workers and others whose work puts them at risk. People with weakened immune systems are eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna four weeks after the second injection.

Regulators have yet to clear booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients, but a FDA panel is scheduled to meet to weigh the booster injections for adult recipients of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The CDC said the conditions that qualify a person for a booster shot include: hypertension and heart disease; diabetes or obesity; cancer or blood disorders; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney or liver disease; dementia and some disabilities. Pregnant women and current and former smokers are also eligible.

The FDA has cleared the boosters for workers whose work puts them at high risk of exposure to potentially infectious people. The CDC says this group includes: emergency medical workers; education workers; food and agricultural workers; manufacturing workers; correctional workers; workers in the US postal service; public transport workers; employees of grocery stores.

It is not recommended. For now, recipients of the Pfizer vaccine are advised to be vaccinated by Pfizer, and recipients of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson must wait until booster doses from these manufacturers are approved.

Yes. The CDC says the Covid vaccine can be given regardless of the timing of other vaccines, and many pharmacy websites allow people to schedule a flu shot along with a booster dose.

Southwest said last week it would join several of its competitors in demanding that all employees get vaccinated, setting a deadline of December 8 to do so. The mandate is necessary to continue doing business with the government after President Biden ordered all major federal contractors to require vaccination, said Southwest.

“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s directive on Covid-19 vaccination,” airline general manager Gary Kelly said in a statement announcing the mandate. “I encourage all Southwest employees to comply with the federal directive as quickly as possible, because we value each individual and want to ensure job security for all.”

The pilots’ union, which said it did not oppose the vaccination, had warned that the application of such a mandate could lead to labor shortages and flight disruptions. The union is suing the airline for taking a series of “unilateral measures”, including compulsory vaccination.

In a case filed in court on Friday, the union said the warrant “illegally imposed new terms of employment” on pilots and called on a judge to prevent the airline from enforcing this and other requirement. policies and actions.

United Airlines, the first major U.S. carrier to impose a warrant, recently said that almost all of its 67,000 employees had been vaccinated, with the exception of around 2,000 who had requested religious or medical exemptions and less than 250 who are at risk of dismissal for non-compliance. American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airlines have since followed suit.

Delta Air Lines has said it will not require a vaccination, but bill unvaccinated employees an additional $ 200 per month for health insurance.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Widespread cancellations by Southwest Airlines disrupt weekend travel
Widespread cancellations by Southwest Airlines disrupt weekend travel
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