Southwest Declares Operational Emergency – Alerts Employees

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Southwest Declares Operational Emergency – Alerts Employees

Southwest has declared an operational emergency and asked for all hands on deck.  They are currently dealing with 40 airplanes out of service each day.  This is double the number they had just a few weeks ago and accounts for about 5% of their fleet.

RELATED: Southwest Could Start Flying To Hawaii In March


Here is a part of the statement that Southwest released on the issue:

“This is not the type of communication I (or any leader) want to issue, but it is necessary to get our aircraft back in service in order to serve our customers,” according to the memo from Lonnie Warren, senior director of technical operations.

The number of planes taken out of service recently has more than doubled from the daily average of about 20, Southwest said in a statement, “with no common theme among the reported items.”

“We are requiring all hands on deck to address maintenance items so that we may promptly return aircraft to service.”

They have gone as far as to threaten to fire anyone who does not report to work and requiring a doctor’s note from anyone who calls in sick.  They will be calling in workers for overtime as well to get the planes up to code.


There have been some delays and other issues reported because of this.  Hopefully they are able to get the maintenance issues under control and return the percentages to normal levels again.  It looks like they are trying to take the measures needed to ensure this happens.

Hat Tip: Travel Pulse

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Requiring a doctor’s note for anyone calling in sick seems like a terrible way to run a business. No wonder Southwest is so terrible.

    • It did sound a bit extreme. I think Southwest is usually highly ranked in worker satisfaction though…or at least it used to be. It does go against their good times/fun place to work history though.

  2. I am wondering if this is related to new planes having “break-in” issues. The plane I flew in on Wednesday to Tampa had a “full toilet” indicator in the cockpit which delayed us 20 minutes. After we landed, the crew stated everyone going on would have to deplane for a plane change. I am guessing Boeing does not “burn-in”/test electronics as thoroughly as the military.

    • Not sure but that could be playing into it some. Sounds like it is a wide variety of things all hitting at the same time but they don’t specify if it is new or old planes etc. At least I haven’t seen it anywhere.

  3. Before reading I legitimately thought this was going to be some satire piece related to Trumps border emergency lol


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