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'This isn't surprising': Southwest flight attendant responds to airline's nationwide flight cancellations

Posted at 6:25 AM, Dec 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-29 06:25:31-05

CLEVELAND — Corliss King is a Southwest Airlines flight attendant and she’s the vice president of TWU 556, a union representing some 19,000 Southwest flight attendants.

When asked if she had an idea of when the airline’s operations would be back to normal, she responded, “I don’t, I will tell you they are being more proactive about how they are canceling flights and reimplementing flights.”

King said this weekend’s winter storm grounded flights over the weekend, keeping flight attendants and pilots stuck in cities, and now days later the company is still trying to figure out where crew members are.

“[A crew member] could be in Boise and you think that they’re in Houston and they’re continuing to try to put trips on our board for places that we weren’t at,” said King.

The woman said the issue has snowballed, and that is why the airline has canceled many of its flights so far this week.

“One or two flight attendants out of place affects three, four, or five flights,” said King. “Now if you multiply that by 100, 200, 500 flight attendants out of place, it becomes necessary to pull the plug and start all over.”

The flight attendant said her union has pleaded with the company to update its technology for a while now and the airline just hasn’t done it, so this fiasco was expected.

“You cannot take technology that worked for flying in 1999 and apply to flying in 2022,” said King. “We have grown in leaps and bounds and our technology should go with us and that has not happened.”

Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said the airline intends to return to normal operations by next week, but that announcement comes with little comfort to those traveling this week.

"Our network is highly complex and the operation of the airline counts on all the pieces, especially aircraft and crews remaining in motion to where they're planned to go,” Jordan said. “With our large fleet of airplanes and flight crews out of position in dozens of locations. And after days of trying to operate as much of our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend, we reached a decision point to significantly reduce our flying to catch up.”

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