“It’s very disappointing because this is the only airline I fly with,” Ms. Brown said. “When this happened, it was so frustrating, I had to hold back my tears.”
Daily Business Briefing
Another traveler, Azavier Jackson, 29, said she was disappointed with Southwest, which she was flying for the first time. Her flight from Los Angeles to Charlotte, N.C., was delayed, as was her return trip home on Monday. Ms. Jackson’s connecting flight from Dallas to Los Angeles kept getting pushed back on Monday night, and she left the airport at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Her biggest frustration was that the airline didn’t inform her of an earlier flight that she could have taken.
“It’s not humane to make us wait in the airport that long,” Ms. Jackson said. “There was terrible communication. It felt like they were saying, ‘Just deal with it.’”
The disruptions have been difficult for Southwest’s staff, too, said Lyn Montgomery, president of Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents Southwest’s flight attendants. The airline’s management has been providing regular updates to flight attendants, and Southwest worked to provide accommodations for those who were stranded, she said, adding that such outages happen.
“We are all victims to computers and computer issues,” she said, “and when it happens at an airline, it tends to be massive.”
Like other airlines, Southwest suffered severe losses as the pandemic forced many people to cancel travel plans and stay home for months on end. But the airline, which carried more passengers than any other in the United States in 2019, fared better than most.
Southwest, which reported an annual loss in 2020, its first in nearly 50 years, entered the pandemic with less debt than any other major U.S. airline. And because it flies largely within the United States, it has been relatively unaffected by the sharp drop in international travel. As a result, Southwest reported a modest profit in the first three months of the year, the first major U.S. airline to make money since the pandemic began.