For the second time this month, Southwest Airlines is again canceling and delaying thousands of flights this weekend. According to the aviation blog One Mile at a Time, 48% of Southwest’s schedule was either delayed or canceled on June 25, with another 281 flights canceled and more expected.
The airline, one of the country’s largest domestic carriers, is blaming weather for the widespread service disruption, according to ThePointsGuy.com. But while there are thunderstorms forecast for swaths of the country, including Denver, Orlando, Chicago and St. Louis, some aviation observers are skeptical that Southwest’s schedule issues are entirely the “proactive cancellations” the airline claims.
One Mile at a Time’s Ben Schlappig notes that, “When things go wrong in the airline industry there tends to be a domino effect.” But this weekend’s air travel headaches are specific to Southwest. And “(w)hile this is officially being blamed on weather,” Schlappig goes on to note, “it clearly also reflects the extent to which Southwest’s operation is being pushed to the limit right now.”
Whatever factors are leading to the delays and cancelations, Southwest customers — many of whom are flying for the first time since the start of the pandemic — are angry.
Southwest, however, is not alone in struggling with labor and other challenges facing the airline industry in this late-pandemic era. American Airlines recently announced that they will cancel about 1% of their scheduled flights throughout the month of July.
Source: Civil Aviation Authority – Qatar