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Cancel instead of delay

New Arrival

Why is southwest so quick to cancel fights because a storm is pushing through. It's 6am and fight is at 0825. Flight is canceled due to weather. There's a storm moving through Chicago but it will be gone in an hour. I understand that incoming flights can't land right now because of the weather. But they will be able to in an hour or so. So why not delay flights and still get people to where they need to go instead of canceling everything for the entire morning. Delays are frustrating but at least you get to where you need to be. These days when southwest cancels a flight it's likely the next day or 2 days later before the next available flight. So just delay and not cancel everything because of a few hours of wether disruptions. By the way, I booked a flight on United that departed 45 minutes after the canceled southwest flight and it left on time. Strange how other airlines can be on time in the same weather that caused southwest to cancel everything.


Re: Cancel instead of delay

New Arrival

One other thing I don't understand. The board shows 47 fights departing midway between 725am and 925am, an hour before and after my 825am flight. Only 8 of those 47 flights ere canceled due to weather. If weather is the problem wouldn't all 47 flights be cancelled if they are all departing in the same weather. Just delay the flight. 

Re: Cancel instead of delay

Rising Star

I don't work for Southwest but I do know that coordinating flights is complicated.  Your comment about most of the flights making it out feels right as the airlines will go with as many flights as possible.


This is primarily a customer forum though you can get a hold of someone from Southwest directly using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the forum pages 

Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: Cancel instead of delay

Active Member

Wow! That a quite of last minute experience you had. I do recalled one of my friends,  who had their flight cancelled and wasted no time finding another aircraft carrier and arrived his home airport 30 minutes earlier. 


This had me thinking on why they cancelled instead of delay. Their inability to do their jobs. I had many reason  to believe, that they can't do well with phone interview while I was sitting waiting for their call, instead of call, they text messaged me claimed that they "tried" to call me.


There is no excuse for them not doing the jobs. I am so sorry, I had to post this since I have been watching customers' bad experience with southwest.

Re: Cancel instead of delay

Top Contributor



Sorry to hear your flight was cancelled due to the weather. 


I have a few thoughts on why your flight may be cancelled and not the other flights. 


1. Your flight may be coming from somewhere else and maybe that crew was going to "time out" with a delay so they cancelled the flight. Sure they could have a back up crew in Chicago but there may not be a backup plane so that leads to a cancellation. 


2. With weather sometimes the FAA will limit which planes can come and go otherwise if everyone came with no one going back of the weather you would have no gates and it would be a mess on the tarmac. 


Also keep in mind MDW (where SW flies from) is different than ORD so weather conditions will vary and so will the FAA directives. So planes may be flying from ORD but not MDW or it could be the other way around. 



Re: Cancel instead of delay

Top Contributor

MDW and ORD are both susceptible to bad weather in slightly differing ways. MDW could be limited on flights with poor visibility or condition related to the short runways. If it becomes clear that only a reduced percentage of flights can come through then it would be a partial cancel like you observed, as opposed to a big blizzard that gets all the flights stopped. 

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