Southwest Pilot Reveals What’s Really Behind Airline Holiday Meltdown

Southwest Pilot Reveals What’s Really Behind Airline Holiday Meltdown

And it’s Not The Weather

Thousands of Flights Cancelled


Thousands of passengers are scrambling to rearrange their travel plans this holiday season after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights.

Southwest Airlines made the recent announcement to customers that alternate flights may not be available to them until after New Year’s Eve.

While the chaos is being attributed to the fallout from a powerful winter storm, the flight cancellations have impacted customers around the nation — including in southern states that have been largely unaffected by winter storms.

There were more than 2,800 flights canceled as of Tuesday morning, but the great majority of them — 2,526 flights — were for Southwest Airlines, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

Southwest CEO Bob Jordan told the Wall Street Journal that the airline planned to operate at around one-third of regular capacity as it attempted to get flights back on track.

“This is the largest scale event that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The unprecedented nature of the Southwest Airlines flight outage has many wondering if there are deeper system issues that have affected the airline.

One Southwest Pilot, Tom Bogart, revealed what he believes is behind the mass flight disruption.

“The question is, why are we having a staffing shortage?” he asked. “I believe it’s because of the COVID vaccines — they’re still requiring the vaccination for all new applicants and if the new applicants say they’re not going to get vaccinated, their application is passed over.”

On December 21, before the recent “bomb cyclone” pummeled the Great Plains states, Great Lakes region, and Northeast, Southwest Vice President for Ground Operations Chris Johnson admonished staff in Denver for the unusually high number of callouts.

The Vice President’s memo to Denver ramp agents raised the bar for excused absences in respect to claims of health emergencies and instituted “mandatory overtime.”

“This Operational Emergency will remain in place until it is lifted by memo from me advising of the same,” Johnson said. “This is not the type of communication I (or any Leader) want to issue, but it is necessary to get the Agents back on track in order to serve our Customers.”

The staffing issues have led to a nightmare scenario for holiday travelers who were caught off-guard by Southwest Airlines’ company wide meltdown.

“Furious and weary travelers… unloaded on Twitter, flooding Southwest with reports of the headaches they’ve encounter and continue to face,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Passengers described waiting on long lines that extended outside of airport terminals, missing luggage that in some cases traveled onward despite canceled flights or piled up unclaimed for days, waiting on customer service calls for hours or repeatedly getting disconnected, and trying to navigate a glitchy website.”

“Some passengers said they didn’t receive an email or text message about their flight’s status, and instead learned through a notice on the company’s app from Flight Aware or from family and friends,” the report added.

In December 2021, Southwest Airlines experienced massive disruption during a reported ‘sickout.’  The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association had recently filed a lawsuit against the airline over the company’s vaccine mandate.

“Several times since August 30, 2021, Southwest Airlines has taken new unilateral actions which violate the status quo between the parties in further violation of the Railway Labor Act,” the lawsuit explicitly states. “Most recently, on October 4, 2021, Southwest Airlines unilaterally rolled out a new and nonnegotiated COVID vaccine mandate for all employees, including SWAPA pilots. The new vaccine mandate unlawfully imposes new conditions of employment and the new policy threatens termination of any pilot not fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021. Southwest Airlines’ additional new and unilateral modification of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement is in clear violation of the RLA.”

There were nearly 2,000 flight cancellations over the subsequent weekend. The former CEO Gary Kelly denied that protests over the company’s vaccine mandate had led to a “sickout.”

“There’s just no evidence of that,” Kelly claimed about the reported ‘sick out.’ “Our people are working very hard, they’re doing a great job, I’m very proud of them.”

Kelly did acknowledge that the vaccine mandate is “very controversial,” and not something he wanted for his company. While he was CEO, many Covid vaccine exemptions for pilots were granted, according to reports at the time.

However, more recent reports that new pilot applications are being turned down over Covid vaccination under the new CEO is exacerbating negative public relations at a time when customers are sick of excuses.

Southwest Airlines is building a track record of holiday season chaos. It might behoove the airline to treat its pilots and workers with a little more respect, especially given the fact….

…these vaccines do not stop the spread of the virus, and therefore, it is not the company’s business if an employee takes it.


(TLB) published this article from Becker News as compiled and written by Kyle Becker

Header featured image (edited) credit: SW Jet/reader board’orginal BN article

Emphasis added by (TLB) editors



Stay tuned to …


The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)


Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.


Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.


Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.