Southwest Computer Outages Force Airline to Cancel, Delay Hundreds of Flights

Passengers check-in for a Southwest Airlines flight PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images Flight cancellations

Passengers check-in for a Southwest Airlines flight

Passengers check-in for a Southwest Airlines flight

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Flight cancellations and passenger frustration continued on Wednesday as Southwest Airlines continued to deal with the fallout from a computer outage on Tuesday, a day after the carrier experienced issues with a third-party weather data provider.

The issues started Monday after a problem with the weather data provider forced the airline to delay about 1,500 flights, The Associated Press reported. Then on Tuesday, the airline was forced to cancel hundreds more flights and delay more than 1,000 after a technology-related issue grounded planes.

At one point, the Federal Aviation Administration held all Southwest departures for about 45 minutes, an agency spokeswoman told the AP.

On Tuesday night, Southwest tweeted it was “in the process of resuming normal operations after a system issue this afternoon that created flight disruptions throughout our network.”

However, by Wednesday morning, a Southwest spokesperson told USA Today, “While our technology issues from Tuesday have been resolved, we are still experiencing a small number of cancellations and delays across our network as we continue working to resume normal operations.”

The spokesperson added: “We appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to get them to their destinations as quickly as possible.”

Passengers took to Twitter on Wednesday to air their frustrations, posting photos of huge crowds, anger at long wait times to speak with customer service representatives, and demands for refunds, and prompting many apologetic messages from Southwest.

Widespread flight delays can be costly for airlines. In 2016, when Delta Air Lines experienced a data center outage that forced the carrier to cancel about 2,300 flights over the course of three days, costs ended up totaling an estimated $150 million in pretax income that quarter, CNBC reported.

It is important for passengers to know their rights if their flight is cancelled, and a good travel credit card can help as many offer compensation for delays or cancellations.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.