Canceled flights complicated thousands of people’s lives this weekend. Southwest Airlines, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas, canceled over a thousand flights between October 9 and 10, 2021. That’s nearly 30 percent of its entire flying schedule.

According to a statement emailed by the airline, the cancellations were due to a combination of terrible weather in Florida and air traffic control issues which plagued the entire Southeast.

“We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers,” said Southwest Airlines. “With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged.”

According to travel analysts, however, Southwest Airlines’ plague of canceled flights is due to more than bad weather. Henry H. Harteveldt, president and analyst for the Atmosphere Research Group, says that Southwest has been over-scheduling its planes and pilots since June 2021, resulting in cascading late arrivals and cancellations whenever something along the chain goes wrong.

Harteveldt also alleges that Southwest pilots may be protesting the company’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate with excessive sick calls and work slowdowns. Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the airline’s in-house union, denies this.

“SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” said a statement by the union. Any such job action would be illegal, union or not, under the aegis of the FAA.

While Southwest is of course not the only airline to see cancellations this week, it is the only one with such extreme numbers. The runner up is Allegiant Airlines, which canceled 6 percent of its flights, followed by Alaska Airlines with 5 percent. It remains to be seen if the cancellations have damaged traveler confidence in the brand so soon before the season of holiday travel.

Photo by John Gress Media Inc /