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Why Southwest canceled your flight and 2,000 others

Southwest canceled thousands of flights over the weekend for two reasons — weather and air traffic issues.

Passengers for Southwest Airlines after Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights.
Passengers queue up at the ticketing counter for Southwest Airlines on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, blaming the woes on air traffic control issues and weather.
David Zalubowski, Associated Press

Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights over the weekend, delaying people’s travel plans in the process.

Per The New York Times, Southwest Airlines canceled about 2,000 flights over the weekend due to air traffic control issues and weather conditions.

  • More than 800 flights were canceled on Saturday. About 1,000 more were canceled on Sunday.
  • Southwest Airlines’ canceled flights accounted for about 25% of its scheduled flights from over the weekend, according to The New York Times.

Southwest Airlines said in a statement to The Hill:

  • “We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening,” the statement said. “With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement to USA Today that air control issues and weather were only issues on Friday, though.

  • “No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday,” Steve Kulm, FAA spokesperson, said in a statement to USA Today. “Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training and limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center.’’

But Southwest wasn’t the only airline to cancel flights. Per USA Today, American Airlines shut down 63 flights, which was about 2% of all its flights from the weekend, and Spirit Airlines canceled 32 flights (or about 4% of all its flights).