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Delays Not all SW fault

Gradyfl
Explorer B

So like many others my plans were ruined due to weather and SW cancellations so I’ve been looking into the root of this bc I am due to fly in 2 weeks w SW for my daughters wedding and of course this is a “can’t miss” event. So I’m trying to get to the root cause in order to figure out if I should rebook these flights now. I am not a SW employee. 

what I have found is that of course the weather started this cascade of issues, which is out of their control. However the primary fault of SW is offering too many routes w such a slim coverage of flight crew AND the antiquated Staff scheduling system they presently use and were due to upgrade in 2020. They seem to be playing catch up since then. The massive weather cancellations created a cascade of events with lack of staffing and the crash of their scheduling system. Once the storms hit they were immediately going to fail for days until they could play catch up and get crews readjusted to cover routes. Because there is already a lack of staff, when legs were cancelled in weather regions those flight crews could not get to unaffected areas for their next flights. Bc they don’t have a surplus of staff, there was no extra staff to pick up these routes. Therefore there were no crew at the 3rd destinations and on it goes. In addition even if they had some crews that could fly to the next areas they could not “pick up” extra routes bc of Govt mandates (Safety Trans Board) on number of flying hours.  Frankly I am not surprised that ANY flights remained open. In addition, flight crews that were available had no idea where they were asked to reassign to or be able to “pick up” extras bc their staffing system collapsed. So it was just an implosion. The only thing SW should have done fr the beginning was to not site as themselves so thin by offering so many holiday routes. They should have held staff back as “extras” especially in warmer areas for the purpose of covering emergencies like this. The staffing is a lot like doctors and nurses in a hospital.  You just don’t see these issues w short staffing in hospitals because there is no l NationL Safety Board regulating hospitals with minimum work hours and staffing requirements forcing hospitals to just shut down if they don’t have staff. Hospitals just keep letting patients thru the door w no regard to these hours or shortages.  Scary to think about in situations where public safety should be even more of a concern. 

in addition to SW staffing shortages, many airports have had staffing shortages of 3rd party vendors in companies that supply fuel and other necessary supplies required for the planes to fly. When no gas trucks show up, the flights are cancelled. Same with baggage handlers, runway crews, and other necessary staff. These are out of SW control and effect all the airlines. 

if you are having issues, save alll your receipts even if SW says no vouchers bc it was “weather”. I believe that they will reimburse all claims in due time if you take the time to submit these records. In addition, if you can not get thru on Domestic SW phone lines look up their International numbers. They can help with your situation and each international phone group has its own number. I callled South Africa and bigot thru immediately. Although there were no alternatives, my case is documented with a case number. She advised print out all original booking info (with a lot of receipt numbers as well as the flight numbers. 

good luck. Stay positive knowing there is no use fretting about things beyond our control. Just move along and don’t dwell in negativity. 

Regards, 

 

a Former Type A. 

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Delays Not all SW fault

dfwskier
Aviator A

well said

 

and it is obvious that you are a FORMER type A

Re: Delays Not all SW fault

SWFlyer007
Aviator C

But we have since learned that SWA has known their systems of scheduling pilots and crews was insufficient since 1990s.  Some of this was a cause of this issue.  I love SWA, but they don't get totally off the hook.    

Re: Delays Not all SW fault

floridaguy
Aviator C

They're not off the hook.  The Holiday DISASTER is going to cost them nearly $1 Billion and will wipe out all of 2023 earnings.

 

Shareholders are angry beyond words.

Re: Delays Not all SW fault

DancingDavidE
Aviator A

If you are interested @Gradyfl here is the official summary from Southwest:

 

https://swamedia.com/releases/release-0e5c5e4d7e00de7004a990a48818295a-final-summary-and-action-plan...

 

Edit: I hope you made your event using whatever path you felt necessary, and can return to Southwest again soon if you did leave.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Delays Not all SW fault

ZevSupport
Aviator C

There are so many factors, and it's also important to note that the SWA Holiday fiasco was caused by something out of their control too (weather). Yes, there's room to improve, but it's always important to keep things in perspective. Hopefully this is a true learning experience!


Community Champion | PHL based | ex-Companion Pass Holder | Southwest Passenger

Re: Delays Not all SW fault

floridaguy
Aviator C

For the most part, what has been come to be known as the "Holiday DISASTER" was a system meltdown that Southwest has known was a weak link in their processes.