Union blames system failures for Southwest Airlines’ problems

ST. LOUIS — Southwest Airlines is aiming to restore its flight schedule and return to normal operations by Friday after nearly a week of holiday travel problems.

The airline has canceled more than 15,000 flights in the past week. The flight attendants’ union Southwest said the company’s system failures were to blame for the mass cancellations.

Passengers and their luggage arrived together again on Thursday at Lambert Airport’s Terminal II.

“I said to a flight attendant yesterday, ‘I’m really sorry. I’m sure that was hard for you,’ and she said, ‘No, I made my choice, it’s my job. I’m sorry for you .’ ‘ said traveler Carol Simms.

Southwest Airlines employs 19,000 flight attendants. Crews said they were prepared for last week’s winter weather but not for system failures.

“I really hope that one of the things that comes out of this is our management’s understanding that frontline workers are the first place that can tell you if your plan isn’t working on paper,” said Corliss King, TWU Local 556 2nd Vice President.

King said the union has been in negotiations with the company for several years and is trying to modernize the system.

“We need to speak to one person. When those phone lines are flooded with hundreds of flight attendants who have needs that need to be met and there’s only 25 people on the other end of the phone, the operation is absolutely impossible to sustain that way,” King said.

She said secured phone lines were causing headaches for passengers and flight crew.

“As the face of this airline, we experience the same as our passengers, except we get lost in the system about it. Where they have no idea where you are. That means they have no idea what it takes to get home, you can’t tell anyone to go home, and they don’t know where to take that transport home,” King said.

King said the company must work hard to regain the confidence of passengers and flight crew.

“We hope this is the wake-up call our leaders need, our management needs to invest in the systems for the people who are the forward-looking image of the Southwest to passengers,” King said.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/union-blames-systems-failures-for-southwest-airlines-woes/ Union blames system failures for Southwest Airlines’ problems

Sarah Y. Kim

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