The COO of Southwest Airlines issued a statement explaining the airline’s significant flight disruption that occurred last Saturday, leaving thousands without flights to their destinations.
COO Mike Van de Ven shared on Thursday that multiple issues were the cause of more than 2,000 flights being canceled. Specifically, Van de Ven blamed inclement weather and air traffic control restraints in Florida, where 40-50% of their daily flights overlap.
The problem began on Saturday, running into the business day on Tuesday until the airline rectified its network issues.
Van de Ven addressed rumors that the disruptions were due to a “sick-out” coordinated by Southwest employees. He instead spoke of his employees’ commitment during the troubling time for the airline.
“Despite widespread rumors and speculation, the weekend challenges were not a result of unusual Southwest Employee activity, and there simply is nothing in our data that indicates that particular reason,” he shared on Southwest’s website in an official statement.
Adding, “Our Employees worked heroically in the midst of these adverse conditions and many came in on off days or flew additional trips, to help the airline recover. I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for their tireless work and dedication to serving our customers.”
Following the network issues and lousy weather, Van de Ven said he hoped to regain the business of any customer who was impacted by the cancellations.
Southwest Airlines representatives have been reaching out to affected customers “to offer our apologies and invite them to give us another chance to earn their business.”
Some customers have been offered vouchers to compensate for their troubles, ranging between $100 and $250, per NBC DFW. Many customers also received refunds and/or credit to be used for a later date.