Southwest Pilots Assoc. VP exposes airline's chaotic cancellations as pilots remain 'in the dark'


Southwest Airlines pilots union VP on ‘incredibly frustrating’ flight cancellations: ‘We were left in the dark’

Vice president of Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Captain Mike Santoro provides insight on the ongoing Southwest flight cancellations and what the company can do to improve the situation.

The vice president of Southwest Airlines Pilots Association pulled the curtain back to reveal the company's "incredibly frustrating" lack of transparency regarding the thousands of flight cancelations during a Thursday appearance on "Mornings with Maria."

The Union vice president Capt. Mike Santoro explained that Southwest has left the Pilots Association helplessly "in the dark" throughout the entire recuperation process – even the recovery plan.


Santoro argued that one of the "most frustrating things" about the cancelation chaos has been the lack of communication from executive management.

Hundreds of Southwest Airlines checked bags are piled at baggage claim at Midway International Airport as Southwest continues to cancel thousands of flights across the country Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Chicago.  ((AP Photo/Erin Hooley) / AP Newsroom)

"So that's one of the most frustrating things for us as the leadership of the pilots. No one's reached out to us at all, actually, to inform us of what's going on. Even the recovery plan we've been left in the dark on," Santoro explained to FOX Business' Cheryl Casone. 

"We make calls and try to get insight, but all we've been told is pretty much how many flights are canceling each day, which has actually changed today than what we were told yesterday. So, yeah, it's frustrating for leadership at the union."

As of Wednesday evening, Southwest canceled approximately 2,500 additional flights and delayed over 340 others, according to FlightAware. So far, over 2,300 flights were canceled by the airline for Thursday, making the total amount of cancelations since Dec. 22nd upwards of 15,000.

And there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.


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Many critics have attributed the airlines' meltdown to a technology breakdown, a persistent problem that has been screaming to be addressed for "six years," according to Santoro. 

Guest host Cheryl Casone inquired about Southwest's decision to uphold their outdated technological infrastructure, for which he said he did not have a "good answer."


"We've had a meltdown a year for the last five or six years. And we've told them that hey, you need to fix your scheduling processes, and you need to fix the I.T. infrastructure in this department to be able to handle these mass cancelations. Because, you know, weather happens, it's unavoidable," the union vice president said, explaining that, "they needed to do this a long time ago. And we've been warning them at the Pilots union for this."  

But Santoro wasn't the only Southwest employee to air his grievances. 

Cancelled Southwest Airlines flights are seen in red on the departures flight schedules at the Southwest terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 27.  (AP/Damian Dovarganes / AP Newsroom)

The President of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association Capt. Casey Murray weighed in on the thousands of flights canceled during a Wednesday appearance on "Your World," ultimately saying, "Southwest wasn't prepared." 

"Unfortunately, this has been a decade in the making. We have sounded alarm bells, we have tried to get them to change processes. It’s a combination of processes, outdated technology and infrastructure."


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"It’s how when one domino falls, it creates so many other issues," the SWAPA president continued, going on to say that "we start each day with enough pilots, flight attendants, ramp agents, customer service agents there to do the job." 

Murray said that, when an interruption happens, it is the "processes" that cause "the need for so many more people."


FOX Business’ Aislinn Murphy contributed to this report. 

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