Have you been a victim of flight delays and cancelations recently? You’re definitely not alone.
The last couple of years have been rough on the airline industry as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels while staffing numbers remain lower than normal due to pandemic-related layoffs. As demand grew and staffing shortages became increasingly obvious, some unions called for better working conditions and higher pay for pilots, flight attendants, and other employees. Now, another airline union is protesting employee working conditions, and the move could affect your upcoming travel plans.
Southwest Airlines has recently been the center of attention in the airline world as the company experienced a massive amount of cancelations and delays over the holidays. In fact, on one day the airline canceled an incredible 67% of total flights. The disaster resulted in many unhappy customers, a huge amount of necessary reimbursements, and even a lawsuit. But the consequences don’t end there.
According to CNBC, the Southwest Airlines pilots’ union is going to hold a vote that would give the union power to call a potential strike. The move comes right after the “holiday meltdown,” and the union president (Casey Murray) referenced that incident in comments about the vote. Murray said, “This decision is not one based on emotion, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t angry.” He went on to explain that the union is working to negotiate “gratitude pay to compensate our Pilots who suffered through the meltdown.”
This is the first time that the Southwest Airlines pilots’ union will hold a strike authorization vote. The vote would not initiate a strike immediately, but it would give the union authority to do so if they received permission from the federal National Mediation Board. Southwest pilots will vote on this issue on May 1st.
Murray stated that, by delaying the voting process until May 1st, it allows time for Southwest customers “to book elsewhere so that they may have confidence in their summer vacations, honeymoons, and family outings.” If there were to be a pilot strike, it’s likely that many Southwest flights would be disrupted.
The airline company has been in negotiations with the pilots association for a new contract for years now, and union leaders have mainly been focusing on “better work rules and scheduling.” However, the recent events with delays and cancelations left many pilots and flight attendants stranded, which likely strained the relationship between the union and the airline.
The Southwest pilots aren’t the only ones to have considered a strike. Delta Air Lines pilots voted in favor of union strike authorization last year. However, “the union and company about a month later reached a preliminary deal for a new contract,” so a strike was not held.
If you’re planning to travel this summer, you may want to keep an eye on the situation with Southwest. We’ll continue to watch for more news about travel, so stay tuned to DFB for all the latest updates.
Click here to learn about the lawsuit filed against Southwest Airlines over the holiday cancelations.
Which airline do you use to fly to Disney World? Let us know in the comments.