With Southwest Airlines In Disarray, Its Phone Systems Melt Down

Like yesterday, Southwest Airlines again led the world in most flight cancellations. They aren’t just short pilots and ramp agents. With half of the airline’s flights delayed – again – customers all over the country have needed help getting rebooked. And the airline’s phone system chose today to melt down.

In order to address phone system problems, Southwest actually stopped taking phone calls.

One call center agent offers,

In the middle of all the craziness, phone servers are down, I can’t hear my customers and so many agents are no showing today because they don’t want to deal with the abuse from customers who keep calling because we can’t help them. They are offering 3x pay tomorrow and 1.5x for the next few weeks.

Southwest is offering their phone agents triple pay to help dig out of the current mess with customers.

Here’s how the airline is describing the confluence events that’s led to their holiday meltdown. Nowhere does a lack of sufficient staffing get mentioned.


It’s been a bad day to fly. Delta cancelled 22% of its mainline operation so far today. United has cancelled 12%. Alaska, with its Seattle hub in disarray, has cancelled 30%. American Airlines has been a relative bright spot with just 3% cancellations (but 25% delays) at main line. Nowhere has it been more challenging, though, than Southwest.

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