An IT system outage grounded Southwest Airlines flights across the United States for the second day in a row frustrating thousands of passengers who were stuck on planes and in airports across the United States. In a response to one complaint on Twitter, the airline’s social media team said the carrier was dealing with “intermittent connectivity issues”.
The technical difficulties came less than 24 hours after Southwest was forced to enact a ground stop on all its planes because its third party weather data vendor had a technical hitch that prevented weather information from being sent to pilots.
“While the vendor worked to restore connectivity, we implemented a ground stop to protect the safety of our crews and customers,” a statement from Southwest explained.
On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it ordered a ground stop on Southwest flights due to a reservations system outage at the airline.
“@SouthwestAir get your sh*t together,” tweeted Matt Burskey after his flight landed in Denver but was unable to park at a gate. “We land in Denver just now and we have to park and sit? The pilot says not sure how long it will be but hey you can take you seat belts off. Pretend the software isn’t wearing a mask!”
“They just said over the intercom in the airport their system is down everywhere and no idea when it will be back up….get comfy,” wrote Andrew Chamberlain in reply. A rep for Southwest apologized for the hold-up but wasn’t able to say how long the delay would be.
Another Twitter user called Stephanie wrote: “We’ve been sitting on the tarmac for over 45 min now waiting for another southwest plane to move so we can deplane. All flights grounded so it’s not going anywhere”.
And Charles Spivey highlighted the fact that the IT disaster had occurred in the same week that Southwest is celebrating its 50th anniversary and offering flights with a 50% discount.
“I love the Twitter juxtaposition of everyone trapped in airports complaining about Southwest’s entire fleet grounded nationwide…and the rest of Twitter clamouring for 50% Southwest flights. Not the day to work in @SouthwestAir social media dept,” he wrote.
Southwest’s social media team continued to respond to angry passengers as the delays dragged on warning customers that delays would likely continue through the rest of Tuesday.
Photo Credit: Stephen M. Keller, Southwest Airlines Co.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.