At Southwest Airlines, the Winter Storm Unleashed a Cascade of Problems

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Southwest Airlines is one of America’s largest airlines. Ltd.

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  More than 30% of flights were canceled on Friday, one of the worst hit by a severe storm that brought snow, wind and sub-zero temperatures to much of the United States this week.

  Southwest Airlines vice president of flight operations Lee Kinebrew said in a message to employees Friday night that the storm's effects could deepen as Southwest Airlines faced an unforeseen onslaught of weather-related challenges. said it had become difficult to get operations back on track.</p><div> <p>The airline troubles continued on Saturday. Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson said Saturday that last night's disruptions at three of the Southwest's largest airports have cleared plans for Saturday.  Airlines have scrubbed about 30% of their scheduled flights, according to FlightAware.

  Mr. Watterson cited unexpected fog in San Diego and a fuel supplier shortage in Denver. The airline's efforts to keep planes in Dallas overnight to relieve pressure at airports further north also added new tensions there, as the added workload led to backup arrivals requiring gates. was created. 

  “All of this has resulted in many crews finishing behind schedule or being out of place. That is why from today crews are still resting and other crews are losing their positions and we have decided to cancel additional cancellations. I had no choice but to do it," he wrote. 

  Watterson wrote that airlines are planning to cut operations at some airports on Saturday night in hopes of easing stress on their networks and starting in a better position on Sunday. 

  Persistent frigid temperatures and lingering ice in some areas have created challenges for other airlines as they try to bounce back, even as weather conditions improve in some areas. 

        delta airlines<span class="company-name-type"> Ltd.</span>

  It said most of the snow had passed, but equipment froze in some places and other restrictions on normal ground operations resulted in cancellations.Alaska Airlines Group<span class="company-name-type"> Ltd.</span>

  Freezing rain in Portland, Oregon, continues to hamper operations, it said on Saturday.The weather improved in Seattle, but the previous day's ice storm left hundreds of planes and crew behind, slowing recovery. Delayed. JetBlue Airways<span class="company-name-type"> Ltd.</span>

  The company said in a memo that flight attendant absenteeism has increased and that it has tripled wages for flight attendants who undertake business trips.

  But the Southwest, which has a big presence in hard-hit cities like Denver and Chicago, said it faced a very big impact this week. Unlike some of its larger rivals with hub-and-spoke networks, the Southwest's planes hop from city to city, so problems can ripple. 

  The airline tried to cancel flights late Wednesday afternoon ahead of Denver weather, Kinebrew wrote. Southwest Airlines said it had not been shown and expected it would be safe to operate the full flight at Chicago's Midway International Airport until late Thursday afternoon.

  Conditions changed rapidly. Kinebrew wrote that high winds and heavy rain made it difficult to keep the runways and ramps safe. On Thursday morning, the airline found some of its jets in Denver frozen overnight. It was inoperable until noon. A rolling blackout by a Denver natural gas company made it difficult to refuel aboveground equipment.

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      Heavy snow, high winds and near-zero visibility caused by what is known as the bomb cyclone disrupted flights and other travel heading into the holiday weekend.

  Heading into Friday, the airline tried to keep the plane in a warm place overnight to get the auxiliary power unit up and ready to start the day, Watterson said in an earlier reminder to employees. said in the message.

  Other unforeseen problems arose, Kinebrew said. Hydraulic lines at Midway froze, rendering some gates nonfunctional, leaving Midway and Nashville, Tennessee, with insufficient space for deicing. Frozen tires and congealed fuel gave me headaches. A leaked fuel line near Los Angeles meant that flights to airports in the area had to bring in extra fuel.

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  <p>The airline was facing a shortage of ramp workers in Denver and had to provide a doctor's note for sick calls. Casey Murray, president of the union representing Southwest Airlines pilots, said part of the flight to Denver had to turn around because no one could move them as they landed in Denver. Said it didn't.

  The pilots union, which is in the midst of contract negotiations with the airline, said Thursday that the airline was experiencing a "system-wide meltdown" and that pilots were being rerouted at the last minute and assigned additional flights. Stated.

  “Every time a disruption hits a network, process failures and infrastructure collapse exacerbate the situation. wrote.

  A spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines said Denver and Chicago's Midway are major challenges for the airline, with smaller operations at both locations to better serve. Airline crew scheduling teams are working to get crews and planes into the proper locations as quickly as possible.

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      <h4 class="wsj-article-caption-content">Passengers were waiting for a Southwest flight at New York City's LaGuardia Airport on Friday.</h4>
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    Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

  Kinebrew said airlines are offering premium wages to flight attendants, but people are picking up travel at lower fares than normal.

  The airline on Saturday offered additional payments to flight attendants involved in several problems. When I tried to contact , they said they had been waiting for hours. 

  "There is no apology bigger than to change what you have already experienced," Sonya Lacore, vice president of in-flight operations, wrote in a message to flight attendants on Saturday. It's something we haven't experienced in years, and our Crew Scheduling tools aren't set up to handle a storm of this magnitude."

  <strong>write destination </strong>Alison Sider

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