Many disgruntled Southwest Airlines customers found themselves left without flights this weekend (9th and 10th October).

Southwest Airlines cancelled a significant amount of flights over the Columbus Day weekend disrupting the travel plans of thousands of customers and stranding flight crews.

HITC found out exactly how many flights were cancelled by the airline and the reasons behind the disruption below.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

How many Southwest Airlines flights were cancelled?

In total, Southwest Airlines cancelled around 2,000 flights across Saturday and Sunday. According to Reuters, Southwest cancelled 808 flights on Saturday (24% of all Southwest flights) and another 1,103 flights (30% of all flights on Sunday as reported by FlightAware.

However, flights are expected to resume normal service this week. In response to a tweet from a passenger enquiring about a cancelled flight, the airline said: “While we work to stabilize our operations, we anticipate to resume normal service this week.”

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A Southwest Airlines baggage handler loads luggage on the tarmac at Hollywood Burbank Airport in Burbank, California, October 10, 2021. – Southwest Airlines cancelled more than 1,000 flights Sunday, part of a major weekend service disruption that the carrier attributed to weather and air traffic control issues. The carrier cancelled 1,085 flights and counting on Sunday, or about 29 percent of its schedule — by far the highest rate of any airline — and delayed more than 900 others, according to airline tracker FlightAware. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Why were Southwest Airlines flights cancelled?

In a press release from Southwest Airlines, they confirmed that services had been affected by “operational difficulties.” They explained that cancellations began on Friday as a result of weather challenges that “were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations.”

The Federal Aviation Administration also confirmed that staffing shortages contributed to the massive number of cancelled flights causing significant disruption to thousands of customers.

Interestingly, earlier this month Southwest Airlines announced that they would be introducing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees, which has reportedly led to some pilots calling in sick or refusing to work in opposition to the mandate. However, the airline included the following in their press release disputing this: “Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions.”

Twitter users fume at Southwest Airlines

Disgruntled customers of Southwest Airlines took to Twitter to share their frustration over flights being cancelled at the last minute.

One user questioned Southwest Airlines saying: “Are you also going to refund me the hotel bill I am still stuck paying after you cancelled my flight today? Didn’t receive a text or an email from all either alerting me that you changed my trip from today to Wednesday.”

While another user tweeted: “Southwest Airlines, you SUCK, you cancelled my flight today, stuck my travel partner on a flight today and stuck me on another flight tomorrow, missing work today, and a 2-hour hold on the phone. Where do I send my bill to? You get to pay me.”

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