Southwest Airlines cancellations: Air traffic control problems or vaccine walkouts?

According to multiple news sources, Southwest Airlines cancelled over 800 flights on Saturday and 1,000 flights on Sunday, wrecking havoc on weekend travel plans. Sources say the flight cancellations were due to “air traffic control problems,” “weather,” and “limited staffing.”

But is that the real reason for the cancelations? Last week’s vaccine mandate announcement made headlines as the company is the latest to require Covid-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment. All current employees must receive the vaccine by December 8 if they want to remain employed.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the weekend’s cancellations were because of “poor planning” and maintained that pilots were not “participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” but Reddit users proposed a different explanation.

Update: Here is a link to the lawsuit between the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association and Southwest Airlines, filed October 8, 2021.

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