Another traveler, Azavier Jackson, 29, said she was disappointed with Southwest, which she was flying for the first time. His flight from Los Angeles to Charlotte, North Carolina was delayed, as was his trip home on Monday. Ms Jackson’s connecting flight from Dallas to Los Angeles continued to be postponed Monday night, and she left the airport at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Her biggest frustration was that the airline hadn’t informed her of a flight sooner than she could have taken.
Daily business briefing
“It is not humane to keep us waiting at the airport for so long,” Ms. Jackson said. “There was terrible communication. I felt like they were saying, ‘Just take care of it.’ “
The disruption has also been difficult for Southwest staff, said Lyn Montgomery, president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents Southwest flight attendants. Airline management has provided regular updates to flight attendants and Southwest has made an effort to provide accommodations for those stranded, she said, adding that such blackouts are happening.
“We are all victims of computers and computer problems,” she said, “and when it happens in an airline it tends to be massive.”
Like other airlines, Southwest suffered heavy losses as the pandemic forced many people to cancel travel plans and stay home for months. But the airline, which carried more passengers than any other to the United States in 2019, fared better than most.
Southwest, which reported an annual loss in 2020, its first in nearly 50 years, entered the pandemic with less debt than any other major U.S. airline. And because it flies largely in the United States, it has been relatively unaffected by the sharp drop in international travel. As a result, Southwest posted a modest profit in the first three months of the year, the first major U.S. airline to make money since the pandemic began.
So far this year, the airline has announced that it is increasing the Boeing 737 Max order by 100 planes and is recalling all flight attendants who took extended leave in time for the seasonal increase in travel over the course of summer. In May, Southwest said it was seeing improved demand, and this month it said it would buy even more Max jets.