Southwest Airlines: An Operational Meltdown of Epic Proportions

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Photo by James Cheney on

I haven’t flown Southwest Airlines for since 2018. In 2018, as a fresh out of college graduate, Southwest’s companion pass was very compelling. Jen and I were able to take advantage of this perk and travel to places like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas all for the price of one person(me) via points. Fast forward to this Winter, and Southwest has been hit hard by an operational meltdown of Epic Proportions. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this.

What Happened?

Due to the Winter storms ravaging most of the United States earlier in the week Southwest was unable to adequately position planes and crews for the week. The airline had to cancel a whopping 70% of its flights while also noting that it will not be able to rebook customers until after New Year’s Eve. This is truly disheartening, leaving many flyers stranded for the holidays.

Southwest was ill prepared to reposition its crew after the Winter storms. While other airlines were able to weather the frigid weather, Southwest was unable to do so and travelers look to be stranded with no end in sight.

My Thoughts

I don’t fly Southwest anymore. While some flyers love the boarding and first come first serve seat selection policy, I hate it. The fact that many passengers cut in line to try to get a better seat only adds to the misery. After my companion pass expired in 2018, I avoid the airline altogether so it’s safe to say that I don’t have a stake in this analysis.

On one hand, with terrible weather and snowstorms, travelers should have a Plan B or avoid heading to the airport. With massive lines, those traveling should also avoid checking in a bag. I know many will be upset, but heading to the airport now will likely result in long queues only to be told to come back later.

I think the blame is 100% on Southwest Airlines. No other airline has even come close to their cancellation rates and with the Winter storm gone a few days ago, every other airline has gotten their act together. I’m not sure where the disconnect happened, but for the sake of stranded travelers, I hope the the airline is able to return to service as usual in the next week.

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