Two days late for the one-day NFT convention [bymuratdeniz/E+ via Getty Images]
Scratch the fuzzy pink neck pillow... and forget the Biscoff cookies. Southwest Airlines cancelled 2K+ flights between Saturday and Monday, causing headaches from Miami to Denver. SW blamed the cancellation-palooza on air-traffic issues and bad weather. Awkward, since the FAA reported no air-traffic-control issues, and angry customers posted pics of baby-blue skies. SW shares sank as much as 3% yesterday.
The rumors were flying… unlike Southwest’s planes. Critics speculated that the cancellations stemmed from pilots’ massive “sick-in” protest of SW’s vaccine mandate. But SW — and the pilots’ union — said the cancellations weren’t part of a protest. Instead, they may have stemmed from Southwest’s opportunistic pandemic strategy:
It’s hard to refund a canceled rep… The financial cost of cancellations is bad for airlines, but the reputation cost is worse. Southwest soared to success with low prices and an aggressive expansion strategy. But after this PR nightmare, thousands of travelers may avoid it at a time when travel is rebounding. Domestic travel is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, and is expected to keep growing. But Southwest could miss out.