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Southwest Airlines cancels flights across US, including Columbus

Southwest Airlines canceled roughly 1,900 flights over the weekend.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — UPDATE: Monday, 4:30 p.m.

Southwest Airlines canceled several hundred more flights Monday following a weekend of major disruptions. FULL STORY>>>

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Original Story

Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights across the country this weekend, including eight that were scheduled to leave over the course of two days to and from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

According to FlyColumbus, three of the flights were canceled Sunday and an additional five have been canceled so far as of Monday. 

On its Facebook page, the airline said the canceled flights are due to air traffic control issues and bad weather.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the...

Posted by Southwest Airlines on Saturday, October 9, 2021

The Dallas-based airline canceled 1,900 flights on Saturday and Sunday alone, citing "operational challenges." Those cancellations continued into Monday, with website FlightAware reporting 365 canceled flights and an additional 600 flight delays by late morning. 

Southwest Airlines has been the only airline to report issues on that scale, with Sunday's cancellations amounting to roughly 29% of its overall schedule. In fact, this weekend's cancellations mark the highest rate reported by any major U.S. airline. Following behind was Allegiant with 6% cancellations; American Airlines with 5%; and Spirit at 4%.

The Associated Press reports shares of Southwest Airlines Co. briefly fell more than 4% on Monday before a partial recovery; they were down less than 2% by late morning.

The three canceled flights from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport on Sunday were flight #1408, which was headed to Fort Lauderdale, flight #1434, which was going to Chicago and flight #2183, which was going to Atlanta.

As of Monday, cancellations include flight #4935 from Chicago, #972 from Fort Lauderdale, #1715 from Houston, and flight #1594 from Las Vegas, as well as flight #4980 to Orlando.  

In an emailed statement, Southwest said in part: 

"We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening. We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and Crews repositioned to take care of our Customers."

Last week, Southwest announced it will require all workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8 or risk potentially losing their jobs.

According to the Associated Press, the union representing Southwest pilots said in a statement that it doesn't oppose vaccination, but it argued in a filing Friday that Southwest must negotiate before taking such a step. 

The union offered another explanation: It said Southwest’s operation “has become brittle and subject to massive failures under the slightest pressure” because of a lack of support from the company. The union complained about the “already strained relationship” between it and the company.

The airline says customers affected by the cancellations can look at self-service rebooking options and check flight statuses on the company's website.