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SWAPA Statement on Southwest’s Holiday Meltdown

SWAPA Statement on Southwest’s Holiday Meltdown

December 28, 2022

December 28, 2022                

Contact: Amy Robinson                              
Director of Communications
214-722-4240, arobinson@swapa.org    


SWAPA Statement on Southwest’s Holiday Meltdown 

(DALLAS)The impact of Southwest’s operational collapse being felt by passengers and crews over this holiday was not a surprise to anyone but the leadership of Southwest Airlines. It was unacceptable and the worst of the effects were absolutely preventable. 


A systemic failure of Southwest Airlines leaders to modernize, support, and staff its operation leaves every frontline employee, Pilots included, tired of apologizing to our passengers. For more than a decade, leadership shortcomings in adapting, innovating, and safeguarding our operations have led to repeated system disruptions, countless disappointed passengers, and millions in lost profits.


The holiday meltdown has been blamed on weather that had been forecast five days prior, but this problem began many years ago when the complexity of our network outgrew its ability to withstand meteorological and technological disruptions. SWAPA subject matter experts have repeatedly presented years of data, countless proposals that make Southwest pilots more efficient and resilient.


Once again, we call for investing in infrastructure that will improve conditions for both our passengers and Pilots. Infrastructure in the forms of crew scheduling software that takes into account our point-to-point network, a modern collective bargaining agreement that reflects best practices in today’s demanding operation, and communication tools that would have allowed for displaced crews to remain in constant contact with our Company. SWAPA has communicated the need for those innovations to both CEO Bob Jordan, as well as his predecessor, Gary Kelly.


Our Pilots’ futures are linked to the success of our Southwest Airlines. Not only will these improvements help prevent future disruptions, but they will be key to recruiting and retaining the very best professional aviators. And above all, they will enable Southwest to restore its tarnished brand and regain the trust of our loyal customers. 




Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 10,000 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights, and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information on the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, visit www.swapa.org.