First Southwest Cancellations, Are American and Now Amtrak Next?

(AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca)

We saw a huge problem with Southwest Airlines this weekend, with over 800 flights canceled on Saturday and a thousand more on Sunday. As we reported, the initial claims as to the problem were utter nonsense — “bad weather” — while other carriers weren’t having that significant an issue. Southwest canceled 28% of its schedule, according to ABC. The sheer scale of the cancellations showed there were obviously internal issues.

Henry H. Harteveldt, president and travel industry analyst at The Atmosphere Research Group, based in San Francisco, said part of the issue was how Southwest scheduled things: that they were scheduling too many flights and because they had a point to point route network, so that when there are delays it tends to effect everywhere else. But he also pointed to the likelihood of what was being reported: that there was a “massive sickout” objecting to COVID vaccine mandates.

The Southwest Pilots Association formally denied that they were involved in such an action, saying they were not participating in any official or unofficial action. But, as Hateveldt noted, if they were, it could be considered an illegal job action. So they would not likely acknowledge it if it were happening.

From CNBC:

“Make no mistake about it – due to months of staffing issues and inefficient scheduling practices we have been operating at a higher than normal operational risk,” the union’s safety committee told members in a post on Saturday.

It said reports of fatigue, which require pilots not to fly, are triple historic norms.

“All of these challenges have led to an added distraction in the cockpit,” it said. “This week’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate announcement by the Company only exacerbates the situation.”

Then there was word that American Airlines might be lining up in the box to be next. Their pilots’ union is warning of a possible staffing shortage if the stringent mandates are employed there for COVID vaccines.

The Allied Pilots Association requested that American Airlines find “alternate means of compliance with the Executive Order be made available for professional pilots” so as not to prompt mass firings and unpaid leave following President Joe Biden’s September announcement mandating large employers to require vaccinations or weekly testing.

On top of that, now there are questions being raised about Amtrak after two trains were cancelled by them as well for “unforeseen crew issues.”

Now, because they’re not explaining what’s going on there, we don’t know what the rationale is behind those cancelations but the “unforeseen crew issues” are causing a lot of people to conclude that it’s related to vaccine mandate issues as well.

Amtrak is requiring all employees be either fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing by Nov. 1, In addition, all new employees will have to prove they are fully vaccinated before their first day starting Oct. 4.

This push for vaccine mandates was accelerated after Joe Biden said at the beginning of September that he would be enacting vaccine requirements for all businesses that did federal contracting and he would impose an OSHA rule on all private businesses with more than 100 employees (although that rule hasn’t formally gone into effect yet — more Biden smoke and mirrors).

Truly, everything Joe Biden touches just blows up.