Air travel is beginning to return to normal after a massive winter storm swept through the nation over the holiday weekend, disrupting travel for millions of people.
Southwest Airlines, however, continues to see significant problems.
As of 1 p.m. Pacific Time Monday, Southwest had canceled more than 2,600 flights, roughly 66% of its schedule, according to FlightAware.com. Another 18% were delayed.
Customers are complaining of long lines for customer service, excessive wait times or busy signals on Southwest’s telephone lines.
In a statement posted online Monday, the Dallas-based budget carrier blames the cancelations, delays and customer service issues on lingering effects of the storm.
“We were fully staffed and prepared for the approaching holiday weekend when the severe weather swept across the continent,” Southwest said. “With consecutive days of extreme winter weather across our network behind us, continuing challenges are impacting our Customers and Employees in a significant way that is unacceptable.”
Whether that is the whole story, is unclear.
A memo posted on Twitter purporting to be from Southwest Airlines employee says the airline declared a “state of operational emergency” on December 21 at Denver International Airport due to a high number of sick calls.
The memo said employees “alleging illness” would face possible termination if they didn’t produce a doctor’s note.
According to Flight Aware, 213 Southwest Flights out of Denver were canceled Monday and another 189 were delayed by mid-afternoon.