5 min read
Passengers across the country are furious after hundreds of delays and cancellations hit Southwest Airlines flights due to internal technical difficulties.
The popular airline was hit with two separate issues this week that left thousands of passengers stranded and disgruntled.
On Monday, Southwest faced connectivity issues with a third-party weather supplier used on flights, delaying over 40% of the company’s total flights for the day.
The issue appeared to be resolved when a second system glitch on Tuesday caused connectivity issues that led to the cancellation of about 15% of total flights for the day, trickling over into Wednesday where another 260 flights were cancelled and several hundred were delayed.
“We are still experiencing a small number of cancelations and delays across our network as we continue working to resume normal operations,” the company said in a statement, citing that the issues had been “resolved.”
Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t sufficient enough of an explanation for customers.
Many took to social media to air their grievances and share their experiences with the airline’s outages, with many angry over limited-to-no new flight options, extremely long lines at the ticket counters and being stuck on the tarmac for hours at a time.
Thanks #SouthwestAirlines for cancelling my flight and stranding me in an unfamiliar city for the night due to your own computer glitch, without any compensation or even a hotel, and putting me on a terrible flight tomorrow with an awful boarding group. Awesome customer service.
— ScorchRaserik (@ScorchRaserik) June 15, 2021
Hey @SouthwestAir will you be compensating your passengers from today’s nationwide technical issues which has grounded your ENTIRE fleet? My parents are trying to get back home after attending a family funeral. #southwest #southwestairlines
— Jillian Mireles (@godJilla) June 15, 2021
Caught in the #SouthwestAirlines mess day 2. Woke at 5 to see a text my flight home to PHX was cancelled. Scrambled and now going on American because I’d really like to be back in time for a 2 pm job interview. Not the frame of mind I expected to be in for this interview.
— Dawn Maria (@DawnMariaAZ) June 16, 2021
Hey #SouthwestAirlines wish you could go back to caring about your passengers! You knew you had a failing system, but yet continued to book flights! Now I’m stuck and missing a very important event. Thanks! #donotflysouthwest
— Shiloh Benjamin (@benjamin735790) June 16, 2021
@SouthwestAir Many of us remember what life was like before the internet. Since you are having multi-day outages, apparently you need a contingency plan. Forcing passengers to sit on the tarmac for indeterminate amounts of time is unacceptable.#SouthwestAirlines
— Nicole H (@TexasNicole) June 15, 2021
Southwest Airlines nationwide outages. I’ve NEVER seen airport lines this long. Only in line to check bags. Haven’t even been to security yet. This is insane! Glad we have 3.5 hours until our flight! #SouthwestAirlines #southwest #orlando
— Kelly (@ArendelleKel) June 15, 2021
Literally the longest domestic flight experience of my life!!! #SouthwestAirlines
— ATL MASSAGE THERAPIST (@greatly_valued) June 15, 2021
“You knew you had a failing system, but yet continued to book flights,” Twitter user Shiloh Benjamin wrote. “Now I’m stuck and missing a very important event.”
— Stephanie Harper (@monkeysmom4) June 15, 2021
“Since you are having multi-day outages, apparently you need a contingency plan,” another posted. “Forcing passengers to sit on the tarmac for indeterminate amounts of time is unacceptable.”
Other customers cited the situation as the “longest domestic flight experience” of their lives, with some calling the handling of the cancellations “insane” and describing their mental state was “scrambled.”
The company provided an update late Wednesday with a statement on social media, telling customers to expect longer-than-normal wait times with customer service.
“We are in the process of resuming normal operations after a system issue this afternoon that created flight disruptions throughout our network,” Southwest said. “We know many Customers still require assistance and are working to address those concerns as quickly as possible.”
Southwest, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is in the midst of a promotion where customers can buy flights for 50% off on 50 selected dates in the fall.
The airline saw a loss of 7% of its workforce (about 4,300 employees) from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020 due to pandemic-related layoffs and exits.
The company is currently up nearly 50% year over year after the pandemic devastated the travel and aviation industry in the first half of 2020.