Southwest Airways apologized for this weekend’s meltdown in a memo to workers Sunday.
“I am sorry for the struggles that you just and our clients are experiencing, as soon as once more,” Alan Kasher, the airline’s government vp of each day operations stated of the almost 1,900 flight cancellations that stranded vacationers and flight crews throughout the nation.
On Sunday alone, the airline canceled 1,085 flights or almost 30% of its scheduled flights.
“I do know that is extremely troublesome for all of you, and our clients usually are not pleased,” Kasher stated.
Melissa Todd and different affected vacationers are past “not pleased” with Southwest’s newest rash of cancellations in a tricky yr for the airline.
Todd is annoyed, drained and out an estimated $300 in rental automotive drop-off charges after Southwest canceled her flight dwelling Sunday.
As an alternative of flying Southwest from Baltimore to upstate New York after a weekend marriage ceremony in Virginia, the Buffalo lady and her husband drove 9 hours within the automotive rental they had been planning to return on the airport.
► Southwest Airways flight woes proceed: 1,000 Sunday cancellations … and counting
► USA TODAY Journey publication: Get the most recent headlines in your inbox each day
Todd stated it was the one possibility as a result of her husband, who works in regulation enforcement, must be at work early Monday morning as a result of his employer is strict about calling out of labor on holidays.
The earliest Southwest may get them dwelling was Tuesday. Todd stated she waited on maintain with Southwest for 5 hours early Sunday in hopes of discovering different choices however needed to dangle up as a result of their cellphone was overheating and time was working out. (Southwest has a warning about lengthy wait occasions – an enormous downside over the summer time for a lot of airways – on its web site.)
“We knew we simply wanted to get within the automotive and drive,” she stated.
Vincent Marino’s Southwest flight from Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix with a dozen members of the family took off as deliberate Saturday however his daughter’s later flight was canceled. She needed to hire a automotive and drive a number of hours to catch a Delta Air Strains flight to Phoenix by way of Los Angeles on Sunday so she and her 4-year-old son may meet up for the “journey of a lifetime” to Sedona, Arizona.
The tab: $380 per individual plus rental automotive bills. (Marino stated Southwest gave them journey credit for the canceled flight; they had been eligible for a refund because the airline canceled the flight.)
Marino, who prefers to fly Southwest, stated he does not purchase the airline’s clarification for the mass flight cancellations and says it seems like a labor motion associated to vaccine mandates regardless of union, firm and Federal Aviation Administration statements suggesting that wasn’t the case. These theories took over Twitter this weekend because the cancellations mounted, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) amongst these weighing in Sunday.
“I simply would slightly them be extra clear and simply say, “Hey, that is what’s happening,” Marino stated.
Kasher’s memo reiterated the airline’s preliminary feedback that air visitors management points and dangerous climate in Florida had been accountable. As occurred with Spirit Airways two months in the past, the preliminary cancellations and delays rapidly snowballed as flight crews timed out and could not fly deliberate flights. Some could not even discover lodges to remain in. All this in opposition to a backdrop of staffing points which have dogged the airline, and others, all summer time.
“All these challenges put strain on our crew member regulatory and contractual limits, which in flip turns into a staffing problem – resulting in greater than anticipated cancellations,” Kasher stated.
► Spirit Airways meltdown: ‘Only a parade of incompetency’
Southwest’s flight woes had St. Louis legal professional Asim Raza and his spouse concurrently looking for airline tickets on-line when their 19-year-old son’s early Sunday flight again to highschool in Washington, D.C., was canceled late Saturday. He needed to be again for a assembly.
They got here throughout some last-minute tickets however some had been as excessive as $1,000 a technique, he stated.
“We’re like, ‘Holy cow, you are simply going to must go later and miss your assembly,” Raza stated.
They finally discovered a ticket on American utilizing frequent flyer miles.
He reached out (politely) to Southwest on Twitter, calling himself a longtime supporter of the airline. The airline responded with the promise of a journey voucher along with refunding the frequent flyer factors that they had used for his or her son’s journey dwelling for fall break.
“I didn’t ask for something; they simply provided it,” he stated “They stated we recognize what you are promoting and on your hassle we’re going to ship you a journey voucher.”
Southwest has not publicly mentioned what it’s doing for vacationers caught up on this weekend’s flight cancellations. Spirit despatched vacationers $50 vouchers, even when their flights went out on time throughout its seven-day string of cancellations in late July and early August.
Todd hasn’t been capable of attain anybody at Southwest to ask a couple of voucher or the rental automotive bills however stated this weekend’s expertise has soured her relationship with the airline she has flown for greater than 25 years.
“I do know 5 years in the past … they might be caring for you if one thing went awry,” she stated. “And now, it does not seem to be that is occurring. They don’t seem to be taking any accountability. They don’t seem to be compensating like they did.”
She and her household have Southwest tickets to Florida in November however now plans to cancel them.
“We’re not going to take the prospect and roll the cube on that,” she stated.