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Southwest Denies Employees Subversive Actions to Blame for Network Meltdown

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - June 11, 2015 : A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during their first week of operations in Puerto Vallarta.

Southwest Airlines leadership says air traffic problems and weather – not a “sickout” by protesting employees – caused their recent network meltdown.
Amid continued tensions between Southwest Airlines and their pilot’s union, leadership for the Dallas-based carrier says problems originating out of Florida started a chain reaction that led to a network-wide meltdown.


In a message posted online, airline president and COO Mike Van de Ven outlined the problems that caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled.


“The Weekend Challenges Were Not a Result of Unusual Southwest Employee Activity”

In his explanation, Van de Ven pointed out the problems began out of their biggest crew base in Florida: Orlando International Airport (MCO). A combination of bad weather and air traffic constraints forced the carrier to cancel many of the flights leaving the state, leading to a chain reaction throughout their network.


“Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and Crew resources created additional cancelations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday,” writes Van de Ven. “Weather and air traffic constraints were not an issue beyond Friday, but it took us several days to re-set our network after the initial challenges.”


With flight crews unable to switch and depart out of Orlando, the airline experienced a serious bottleneck of both personnel and equipment. Without additional staff available, the carrier needed to reset their fleet and move crews where they were needed.


Although there have been wide-spread rumors of the Southwest Airlines Pilot’s Association (SWAPA) using a “sick-out” to protest the carrier joining the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the executive said there was no evidence of subversive action. Instead, he praised the workers for their dedication during the difficult times.


“Our Employees worked heroically in the midst of these adverse conditions and many came in on off days, or flew additional trips, to help the airline recover,” wrote Van de Ven. “I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for their tireless work and dedication to serving our customers.”


To prevent another major network disruption, the carrier is planning to hire more workers as the aviation sector recovers. Southwest has already hired 50 percent of their 5,000 open roles, with more hiring anticipated in the coming months.


Southwest Apologies to Passengers with Vouchers

For those affected by the outage, the carrier is offering a small apologies in the form of airline vouchers. USA Today reports cancelled travelers are receiving vouchers for between $100 and $250, but the distribution may be slow because of the number of flyers affected.

health1au October 18, 2021

The lies are obvious here. 

Synapseturquoise October 18, 2021

Lol oh, now it is "subversive action from staff "  , the CEO swore it was the weather...which seemed to only affect SW. Stop gaslighting us...smart people like us on FT know what was really going on from the get go. 

volabam October 17, 2021

Not a sickout. Yeah, that's the ticket. Why just the other day, I was talking about this with my wife-Morgan Fairchild-and she agrees it was totally weather.

rpt777 October 16, 2021

The union can't "officially" encourage work stoppages, so "officially speaking"they didn't,
but anyone who believes this was not an employee induced slowdown must have an IQ of a retard. 

ednumrich October 16, 2021

From the "Actions speak louder than words" department: How about we all just stay home for awhile?