Southwest Airlines is being hit hard by the holiday travel boom. Houston - USDOT investigating Southwest cancelations and delays
Southwest Airlines has announced over 2,400 flight cancelations for Tuesday, December 27.
All flights arriving at Dallas Love Field airport are now canceled.
The airline has canceled nearly 2,700 flights, according to
FlightAware. Holiday travel: Making it home for the holidays a tough task
Christmas Day has now come and gone, but plenty of people are still trying to make it to their holiday destination. Unfortunately, like the song says, 'I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams' became reality for a lot of travelers who have tried, some for days, to catch a flight to be with loved ones. At Bush Intercontinental Airport, Monday alone, there were more than 266 delays and greater than 68 flight cancelations, so far. While at Hobby Airport, at 4:00 pm, 216 flights had been canceled for the day with 59 delays.
Dallas isn't the only airport experiencing delays and cancelations.
Southwest posted a notice to travelers on their website notifying them of busy phone lines and cancelation/rebooking options.
The airlines released the following statement in regard to the travel delays:
Our teams have worked throughout the night and have successfully doubled our capacity on our phone line at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA. Though, due to the high demand from Winter Storm Elliott, we are still experiencing high call volumes which may result in busy signals.
If you are not traveling within the next 72 hours, and can wait to call, please do so. If you need to reach us urgently, you may continue to call. Due to the very high demand from Winter Storm Elliott, our hold times are currently averaging more than 2 hours and have been as high as four hours. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and please know we have all available hands on deck working to serve our Customers. Here’s other ways to get help for your trip: If you need to change a trip impacted by Winter Storm Elliot, check your trip in the Southwest app. Our app will show you a message if you can rebook your flight using the app. Tap the red box to rebook and find the next available flight. Our app shows the same inventory that our Southwest agents use and will help you find the next available Southwest flight without needing to call. View the list of airports impacted by Winter Storm Elliot and current waivers in place for rebooking. You can use our self-service tools to book a flight, cancel a flight, change an existing flight. You can also add a Known Traveler Number or Rapid Rewards Number to your trip. If you have a question or concern that does not require immediate action, please send us a message using our Contact Us feature on our website or app. We will respond to it as quickly as possible. If you need an answer to a question, please search our Help Center Again, we sincerely apologize for the issues you may be encountering when attempting to call us.
The employees aren't happy with the experience as well.
The Union of Southwest Flight Attendants, the TWU Local 556 released the flowing statement stating their displeasure the company:
Southwest Airlines has failed its employees once again, the result of years of refusal to modernize operations, notes TWU Local 556, the union of Southwest Airlines flight attendants. And this time, it’s on Christmas.While Southwest COO Andrew Watterson admitted its current systems are "overmatched" by Winter Storm Elliott, the union points to years of neglect in securing and implementing technology that would make the difference for flight crews, employees and also customers. The result: thousands of crew members stranded across the country, some forced to sleep on cots in airports, some in hotels without power or water, and far too many working long hours well past acceptable duty days, and more. Trying to get home for Christmas seems like a dream to flight attendants who are struggling with the nightmare of simply trying to secure appropriate shelter, food and rest."The way Southwest Airlines has treated its flight crews can only be termed ‘despicable,’" said Lyn Montgomery, president of TWU Local 556, the union of Southwest Airlines flight attendants. "We know the demands of holiday travel. We know winter storms. And believe me, we know about stepping up and putting in long work hours when we are called to do so; we are flight attendants. But at this point, the many years of failure by management, despite many unions’ demands to modernize, has left flight attendants fatigued, stranded, hungry and cold – on Christmas! This impacts lives and threatens safety for all."TWU Local 556 has for years demanded that Southwest Airlines seek technological solutions to match its rapidly expanding operation. The lack of technology has left the airline relying on manual solutions and personal phone calls, leaving flight attendants on hold with Southwest Airlines for up to 17 hours at a time simply to be released to go home after their trip, or while attempting to secure a hotel room or know where their next trip will be. While reroutes and rescheduling are understood to be a part of the job in the airline industry, the massive scale of the failure over the past few days points to a shirking of responsibility over many years for investing in and implementing technology that could help solve for many of the issues that plague flight attendants and passengers alike.In an address to the company published on December 25, Christmas Day, Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan said, "Part of what we’re suffering is a lack of tools. We’ve talked an awful lot about modernizing the operation, and the need to do that. And Crew Scheduling is one of the places that we need to invest in." While he goes on to say that "nothing trumps Safety," it’s a sentiment that seems in stark contrast to the harsh working conditions that have plagued flight crews for days, including flight attendants, whose job is to ensure safety on board, and who are left fatigued and worked well past acceptable time limits."While we are stranded, on hold with scheduling, trying to understand where and how we are going to sleep that night, we are also often answering passengers’ questions and hearing their desperate concerns as they, too, are also left wondering what will happen to them," Montgomery added. "We are tired of saying ‘I’m sorry,’ to our customers when we are faced with the same obstacles. For our customers and our crews, Southwest Airlines has to
Make It Right!"TWU Local 556 is in its fourth year of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with Southwest Airlines. While the winter storm has shone a spotlight on the failures of the airline to implement technology that could make a difference, it is just one of many demands the union has made to improve working conditions for flight attendants.More about TWU Local 556’s demands can be found at www.MakeItRightSWA.org, a website detailing the many operational changes Southwest Airlines needs to make to improve the lives of flight attendants and the traveling public.Meanwhile, TWU Local 556 leadership works around the clock to try to assist flight attendants to continue the work of helping ensure their basic needs are met, and represent members in issues related to fatigue, legality to fly, health and safety, and many more. This year, members of TWU Local 556 held informational pickets in September and again in December to raise their voices against ongoing mismanagement by Southwest Airlines."The company’s failures are happening year-round, but are particularly egregious on Christmas," Montgomery said. "Our customers struggled with it just as our thousands of flight attendants did. These are issues that you can’t solve with holiday pay; this is time and quality of life that we will never get back."