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Business & Economy

Southwest Airlines Operations Back To Normal In Columbus

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737–700 before landing at San Jose International Airport.
Dylan Ashe
Creative Commons
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737–700 before landing at San Jose International Airport.

Updated October 12, 2021, 7:56 am. 

Southwest Airlines' operations are getting back to normal at John Glenn International Airport on Tuesday morning after days of disruption. As of Tuesday morning, just one of Southwest's 33 flights into and out of Columbus was canceled.

Over the weekend, Southwest Airlines canceled and delayed thousands of flights, which continued Monday. This has caused problems for those traveling in and out of Columbus.

At John Glenn International Airport, at least five flights in and out of the airport have been canceled as of Monday afternoon with at least a dozen delayed. The airline stated over the weekend the delays and cancellations were due to air traffic control and inclement weather.

Customers like Indianapolis resident Mike Concannon are skeptical. Concannon and his wife's flight from Columbus to Fort Meyers, Florida had been delayed two hours. He said it's throwing a wrench in what is his first vacation in 15 years.

"I'm really mad that Southwest just won't tell the truth. That's the email I just sent them," Concannon said. "It's not a weather issue, it's not a traffic control issue, it's a Southwest issue."

Concannon said he and his wife had been at the airport since 8 a.m. for their afternoon flight, and that the delay has put a bad taste in his mouth when it comes to buying Southwest tickets.

"I will seriously consider all other carriers before I have to consider them again," Concannon said.

Various tweets on social media claim the delays and cancellations were due to pilots protesting President Joe Biden's recent vaccine mandate, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.

"Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work!" Cruz tweeted. "Suddenly, we’re short on pilots & air traffic controllers."

However, the Southwest Airline Pilot Association stated in multiple statements over the weekend that those claims are false. They partially attributed the flight issues to Southwest Airlines management's "poor planning."

"Our operation and our frontline employees have endured continuous and unending disruptions since the first time our airline made headlines in early June due to widespread IT failures," the union stated.

"Our pilots are tired and frustrated because our operation is running on empty due to a lack of support from the company."

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.