This Friday, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 250 flights as the fallout from Wednesday’s technical glitch stretched into a third day. Overall, the carrier has canceled about 1,850 flights since the problem first surfaced.
The Wednesday glitch knocked the carrier’s website offline for several hours and delayed flights around the country for much of Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Southwest said it has fixed the problem, which forced it to cancel 700 flights on Wednesday and another 900 Thursday. Hundreds of additional flights have suffered delays during the outage and in the related recovery. The airline operates about 3,900 daily flights this time of the year.
Friday’s passengers faced the prospect of more disruptions as Southwest continued its effort to get crews and planes back into position for a normal schedule. Southwest said on Thursday that it hoped for normal operations by Friday, a target the carrier clearly has missed.
“We are continuing our work to reposition displaced crews and aircraft as a result of Wednesday’s technology issues,” Brandy King, Southwest spokeswoman said in a Friday morning e-mail to Today in the Sky. “We have more than 250 systemwide cancellations today, as we continue our recovery efforts.”
A rush of customers calling to rebook appeared to have put a strain on Southwest’s reservations lines. And Southwest is allowing most customers with tickets to fly between Wednesday (July 20) and Tuesday (July 26) to change their travel plans at no cost.
“Our employees in airports, online, and on the phone are assisting a significant number of customers and hold times are much longer than average,” Southwest added in a statement posted to its website. “In the midst of peak, Summertime travel, we recognize many flights through this weekend were already close to full and as cancellations continue, we recommend customers who have flexibility explore rebooking on alternate dates beyond Sunday by checking availability on Southwest.com.”
In one olive branch to customers, Bob Jordan, Southwest’s chief commercial officer, said that the carrier will extend by a week a fare sale that was to end Thursday. He also said every customer affected by the disruption would be contacted.
“Priority one is to take care of our customers, so everyone affected will be hearing from us,” Jordan said during the carrier’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday.