Southwest Airlines cancels hundreds of flights for the third day in a row

COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to climb throughout the United States as new cases have dropped to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, people all over the country are attempting to travel for the first time in months, but one major airline is having a very difficult time getting those travelers where they want to go.

Citing data from the FlightAware flight tracking service, The New York Times reported that Southwest Airlines had canceled around 8% of its flights for the day as of midday on Wednesday, while 14% had been delayed. This is now the third day in a row that Southwest had struggled to get flights off of the ground after one of its weather data suppliers was beset by technical issues.

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“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,” said Southwest spokesman Dan Landson in a statement.

Southwest says that it had to cancel close to 500 flights on Tuesday when the issues were at their worst. Nearly 1,300 flights were delayed as well, which accounts for 37% of all the flights the airline had planned for Tuesday.

As the report notes, the glitches could not have come at a worse time for the airline or the customers who booked flights. Just this week, the governors of New York and California both announced most of the pandemic restrictions that had been placed on their respective states would be lifted.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called it a “return to life as we know it,” while California Governor Gavin Newsom told a crowd “we will continue to look out for one another, redoubling our support to those hit hardest by the pandemic and making unprecedented investments to address California’s most persistent challenges, so that the entire state comes roaring back together.”

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that the technical problems have all cropped up on weekdays up to this point. With Independence Day around the corner, travel is sure to increase exponentially in the weeks ahead, so hopefully Southwest and its data suppliers can figure out whatever is causing hundreds of flights to be delayed and canceled every day.

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