Does it seem reasonable to travel in an enclosed vehicle with hundreds of passengers relatively close to you during a global pandemic? For most citizens, the answer is no, and the airline industry felt that impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. Air travel decreased by a wide margin, and pandemic travel has been a stressful process with mask mandates. Vaccines have brought travel back, and airline companies are reaping the benefits. Weirdly enough, it might’ve come back too quickly for Southwest Airlines, a mostly domestic airline company that operates around the country, especially in the South.
Over the weekend, Southwest cancelled nearly 1,900 flights, with many unique reasons fuelling the decision. Around that time, the South was facing severe weather threats, especially in Florida, which caused some pre-emptive cancellations. Business as usual, right? Flights get cancelled all the time for weather delays, so this wasn’t a major surprise. Air traffic control issues also plagued the beginning of the weekend, which is unexpected, but it had about the same effect as the weather. A major part of the delay was due to a labor shortage, something other industries are facing too. As demand skyrocketed in the summer after a mass vaccination effort to begin the year, Southwest couldn’t keep up, setting new schedules for workers and flights that don’t seem to be working. Along with that, Southwest hasn’t been able to retain employees ever since the mass layoffs as these workers are staying unemployed or they are working for someone else, leaving them in a crunch. The cancellations have stalled since, but it shows one of the struggles companies are facing during the economic recovery. Did you have a Southwest flight that was cancelled?
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.