Over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, thousands of travelers were left stranded as Southwest Airlines canceled or delayed thousands of flights. The cancellations and delays continued into Monday causing customer frustration on a massive scale.
According to an article written by the Post Millennial, there were 1900 canceled Southwest Airlines flights over the weekend and their latest update shows another 363 canceled flights on Monday with a further 773 delayed flights.
According to an internal memo by Reuters, Southwest Airlines has given their employees until November 24th to submit documentation of vaccination status and that if they're not fully vaccinated, to plan accordingly to meet the deadline. With the deadline fast approaching regarding the vaccine mandates issued by the airlines, a common theory by a lot of people is that pilots are protesting the mandates.
Amid many contradictory statements, Southwest has caused a lot of confusion as to the reason behind the mass cancellations and delays. Southwest Airlines Pilots Association denies any involvement in pilot protests, while a Southwest Airlines spokesperson reported to the New York Post that "The weekend challenges were not a result of Employee demonstrations" and that weather issues in Florida led to "displaced Crews and aircraft." Monday morning the airline's CEO admitted that they were "short on workers, especially flight crews". A look at the weather however showed clear skies nationwide.
The airline has finally seemed to settle on the weather issues in Florida and poor planning is the main reason for the mass cancellations and delays. Regardless of the reason, thousands of people were left stranded and frustrated during a holiday weekend travel fiasco. After the lockdowns and travel restrictions forced on everyone, people are anxious to get back to their normal travel plans, and issues like this are beyond frustrating. Unfortunately, this is likely just the beginning with experimental medical deadlines looming over many in every industry.