Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights this weekend, disrupting the travel plans of thousands of customers and stranding flight crews — the airline blamed the meltdown on a combination of bad weather, air traffic control problems and its own shortage of available staff.
Other airlines canceled relatively few flights. Southwest did not comment on the disparity.
The disparity between Southwest’s operation and other airlines fueled speculation on social media that employees were calling out sick, with some suggesting it was in protest of a Covid vaccine mandate. Southwest said that was not the cause of the mass flight cancellations.
“It’s inaccurate,” a Southwest spokeswoman said by email. “There’s a lot of unfounded rumor and speculation circulating.”
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, Southwest pilots’ labor union said that “we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions.”
Mass Flight Cancelations ...SPECULATED TO BE PILOT VAXX STRIKE
On Friday, Southwest's pilot union filed legal docs seeking to halt a vaccine mandate that went into effect last week -- following Biden's order for federal workers and/or contractors, which applies to the airline. That was left unresolved heading into the weekend, it seems.
While Southwest hasn't spoken on a possible strike ... the union itself shot down the notion they were to blame, saying ... "[W]e can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions." Then ... some major shade.
They add... "Our Pilots will continue to overcome SWA management’s poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world."
On the record, they're denying any sort of protest -- but there are reports, citing airline sources, that a massive "sickout" went down, and that ripple effects are still being felt.
Edited by Victoria Watcher, 11 October 2021 - 06:21 AM.