Hundreds of flights with Southwest Airlines were delayed on Sunday due to a major technological glitch. Though the Dallas-based airline released a statement Monday morning that the glitch has been fixed, passengers have continued to experience delays throughout the day.
In total, the glitch, which affected ticketing procedures, delayed 836 of the 3,355 scheduled flights on Sunday. It is still unclear what exactly caused the disastrous issue, although, according to Southwest, it was not the work of hackers. An email has been released from a Southwest spokesperson stating, “The technical issue was isolated to a software application which failed and was able to be restored. It took our technology team several hours to test and isolate the specific application that was causing the Customer Service issues. There is nothing to indicate the technical issues were a result of any security or data breach.”
Southwest warned travelers on Sunday to arrive at the airport at least two hours before their flights’ scheduled takeoff times. However, this did little to aid in the mass confusion and disorganization, as hundreds of people were left stranded and waiting in airports all over the country. A person stuck at Sky Harbor International airport in Phoenix, Arizona, described the experience like “Disneyland on a weekend.” Airline representatives at LAX attempted to ameliorate the situation by handing out water and constructing canopies for people waiting outside.
In a statement released Monday morning, Southwest claimed that operations would return to normal by 8:10 a.m., and they apologized, stating “It’s never too early to say thank you and to extend our apologies and we want to share those sentiments both with our hard-working Employees and our loyal and understanding Customers, whom we hope to welcome back for a better experience soon. We’ll continue to work individually with our affected Customers to make this right.” Despite this, the airline still warned passengers flying Monday morning to check in early and bring their boarding passes with them. While the airline admits that they are continuing to work on returning lost bags to their rightful owners and getting displaced customers on their flights, all technical issues appear to have been resolved.