Southwest’s weather data system suffers ‘brief outage’ prior to flights, causing delays
DALLAS - As Southwest Airlines tries to recover following last week’s major travel chaos, the airline was hit by a weather system outage Tuesday that caused disruption again for passengers.
Many people posted on social media about their flight delays Tuesday evening, claiming they experienced long wait times.
More than 1,600 Southwest flights were delayed Tuesday, while 140 were canceled, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.
"Southwest flights continued to operate Tuesday evening after our third-party vendor, IBM, experienced a brief outage in their service that provides weather data prior to Southwest dispatching flights," a spokesperson with Southwest told FOX Television Stations Wednesday. "Our teams worked to minimize customer impact and we anticipate only minor delays for the remainder of the evening."
Southwest encourages customers to check their flight status at Southwest.com.
"We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to get customers to their destinations safely and as quickly as possible," the carrier continued.
Last week, Southwest struggled to recover after being overwhelmed by a winter storm that left hundreds of pilots and flight attendants stranded out of position to operate flights.
On Tuesday, the airline reported "solid progress" with a 99.1% system completion rate from Dec. 30, 2022, through Jan. 1. The carrier said it expects that "nearly all baggage delayed during the recent holiday travel week to be shipped or delivered by midweek."
Southwest said there are currently several high-priority efforts underway to assist its impacted customers, including processing refunds from canceled flights, reimbursing customers for expenses incidental to irregular operations and reuniting customers with their baggage.
The airline confirmed that "significantly impacted customers" whose flights were scheduled to operate between Christmas Eve and Jan. 2, 2023, but were canceled or delayed greater than three hours, would receive 25,000 Rapid Rewards points for each paid, ticketed flyer on their reservation.
"We disrupted many of our customers’ travel and holiday plans, and for that, we are truly sorry," a spokesperson for Southwest told FOX. "We have a long and proud 51-year record of delivering on our customers’ expectations and connecting them to important moments in their lives. But we aren’t perfect, and when we fall short, we aim to do the right thing. We truly hope customers will accept this gesture in the spirit intended—along with our sincerest apologies, as we are committed to delivering on their expectations and regaining their trust in Southwest Airlines."
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According to the airline, the points equate to a base fare redemption value of more than $300 and are in addition to the customers’ reimbursements and refunds on flights and incidental expenses related to their recent travel disruption.
"As we embark on the journey to rebuild our customers’ faith, loyalty, and trust, we know we have much work to do," the spokesperson continued. "It’s a passionate pursuit, and our Southwest Family has never been more committed to the all-important imperative of serving our customers with warm hospitality and reliability."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.