Southwest Flights Temporarily Grounded Nationwide Due to 'Intermittent Technical Issues'

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

All Southwest Airlines flights were grounded nationwide Tuesday morning due to “intermittent technical issues.” The grounding was announced mid-morning.


A brief perusal of the airline’s Twitter feed demonstrates the passenger above was far from alone in her dismay.

The hold was lifted by late morning, but over 1,700 flights were delayed as a result of it.

The hold on departures was lifted by late morning, shortly after it was announced, according to Southwest and the Federal Aviation Administration, but not before traffic at airports from Denver to New York City backed up.

“Southwest has resumed operations after temporarily pausing flight activity this morning to work through data connection issues resulting from a firewall failure,” the Dallas airline said in a prepared statement. “Early this morning, a vendor-supplied firewall went down and connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost.”

Despite the delays, most flights have not (yet) been canceled.

By late morning on the East Coast, Southwest accounted for well over half of all delays nationwide, but the airline had canceled fewer than a dozen flights, according to FlightAware.


However, the grounding comes just a few short months after major issues and outages faced by the airline over the Christmas holidays, when over 17,000 flights were canceled, costing the airline over $1 billion.

Tuesday’s flight freeze was brief, but it added to the picture of an airline that has struggled more than most with technology issues. CEO Robert Jordan has embarked on a campaign to repair the airline’s damaged reputation.

Southwest said last month it would add deicing equipment and increase staffing during winter weather that is cold enough to limit the amount of time that ground workers can stay outside.

That, of course, doesn’t address other types of technical issues, such as those encountered Tuesday morning, and even a brief grounding can’t help but add to the concerns of frustrated customers and would-be travelers.

As RedState reported during the delays over the holidays, the massive delays and cancelations caused a major black-eye to the airline’s reputation:

When you’re trending on Twitter, sometimes it can be a good thing but more often than not, it’s for not-so-great reasons (as yours truly learned the hard way a few years ago).

In the case of Southwest Airlines, they’ve trended on Twitter off and on for much of the last 24 hours or so due to significant travel delays over the Christmas holidays that appear to have impacted their flights more so than the other major airlines.

While cancellations and delays are normal this time of the year, what’s happened at Southwest since at least Friday shows problems on a scale not often seen. All total, as of this writing over 2,700 Southwest flights have been canceled, with over 750 delayed – and this is just for Monday. Officials with the airline are blaming the weather and the “unique” positioning of some of the airline’s hubs as it relates to the arctic blast that has swept much of the country[.]


Southwest is back to trending on Twitter — and once again, for all the wrong reasons.


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