Southwest Getting Flights In The Air Again Today After Cancelling 700 Flights; Expect Big Backlog

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If you were trying to fly anywhere on Southwest Airlines in the last 24 hours, you likely experienced some major headaches. And if you’re trying to fly anywhere on Southwest today, well, expect some more.

The airline experienced a major issue with several technical systems, which began to fail on Wednesday afternoon. At the time, the Dallas-based carrier told local CBS affiliate KTVT that the airline was dealing with flight delays system-wide, and was holding any plane that had not already left at its airport gates.

“We have a team of experts working diligently to resolve the technical issues and their efforts have systems gradually coming back online,” a Southwest rep said yesterday.

Just before midnight, the airline shared a video taken in its communications command center, discussing the issues.

In the video, Southwest’s chief communications officer Linda Rutherford said in an understatement, “It certainly has been a challenging day with our major outage.”

Rutherford added, “We know we’ve disappointed customers today, and we’re really, really sorry about that. It’s unacceptable to us. … I would expect as we bring our operational systems back up, we may be dealing with challenges in the morning as well.” Rutherford asked for patience from passengers, as the airline’s customer service phone line, website, social media outlets, and airport agents were all swamped with “high volume.”

According to KTVT, the glitch yesterday meant that more than 700 Southwest flights ended up cancelled.

In a statement made early this morning, Rutherford said the airline had canceled more than 221 of today’s flights (so far) as well. Even as systems start to come back online, planes and crews are not where they need to be to make scheduled flights happen.

The airline has promised to help passengers rebook, saying in a statement: “Flexible rebooking accommodation will be available to Customers once our systems are fully functional. Customers who are booked to travel Thursday, July 21, should check flight status information on Southwest.com and plan to arrive to the airport early, as long lines may occur.“