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Southwest Airlines blames weather, staffing issues for cancelations

Almost 2,000 flights canceled since Saturday, Oct. 9

Flight cancellations leave Metro Detroit travelers frustrated
Flight cancellations leave Metro Detroit travelers frustrated

Problems for Southwest Airlines started over the weekend and were not much better as of Monday.

For those currently set to fly Monday, there’s a better chance that 40% of the flights are either delayed or canceled.

More: Southwest cancels hundreds more flights, denies sickout

Susan Powell and her husband are in the middle of a travel nightmare. They were scheduled to leave Denver on Saturday to Detroit. They’re stuck in Chicago in a hotel, and renting a car isn’t even an option.

“We don’t know if we’re going to get out today (Monday) if they continue to keep canceling,” Powell said. “We have nothing ... no toiletries, nothing but the clothes on our back.”

“He didn’t give us an exact price on the rental. We know it was going to be pretty high because they were short but he also told us it was going to be like a $500 drop-off fee. So, we’re talking close to $1,000 to rent a car to get to Detroit,” Powell added.

Since Saturday, Southwest has canceled almost 2,000 flights, and the problem rolled into Monday. The airlines blames weather and staffing but some claim pilots are protesting vaccine mandates.

“We’ve continued diligent work to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft repositioned to take care of our customers. And we’re working to accommodate our customers as quickly as possible. We’re offering customers added flexibility to explore self-service rebooking options on Southwest.com, where they can get updates on the status of their travel,” read a statement from a Southwest Airlines spokesperson.

This summer, Spirit Airlines had major issues due to staffing. The holiday travel season could be a real test.

“Staffing is down and they’re trying to fill those positions but they haven’t been able to fill them and train people fast enough,” said David Fishman with Cadillac Travel.


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.