Wow: Southwest Airlines To Cancel 1,000 Daily Flights Through April

Southwest Airlines is gearing up for major schedule reductions starting this weekend. From Sunday, March 22nd, Southwest Airlines will start to cancel 1,000 of its nearly 4,000 daily flights.

Southwest Airlines is gearing up to cancel 1,000 daily flights through mid-April. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Cancellations at Southwest Airlines

From March 22nd, Southwest announced that it will cancel 1,000 of 4,000 daily flights through to April 14th. From April 14th, the carrier plans to operate a previously revised schedule which would see only 20% capacity reductions, through June 5th. The reason for this, Southwest states, is the drop in travel demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Southwest Cancellations
Southwest is blaming the COVID-19 outbreak for its schedule reductions. Photo: Southwest Airlines

These cancellations will generally target routes on which there are multiple daily frequencies. Furthermore, the cancellations are designed to occur on a rolling, multiple-daily basis. This gives customers more options to change and rebook.

Southwest Airlines
The cancellations will impact flights with multiple frequencies to allow for flexible rebooking options. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Moreover, cancellations will affect flights with the least amount of bookings in order to disrupt travel for the fewest number of travelers.

Cancellations on Southwest extend to international flights

Along with these thousands of cancellations, Southwest is suspending all international service starting on Sunday. The reason is because of government restrictions from multiple countries.

Southwest
International flights will resume from May 4th. Photo: Southwest Airlines

While Southwest does not fly long-haul international routes, the airline does offer flights to the Caribbean and Central America. These routes will resume on May 4th.

Fluid operations

Southwest did not release full details on which markets will see the most cancellations. This is due to the fluid nature of these cancellations across multiple markets on a rolling basis. Each day will see different schedule alterations.

Southwest
Figures by market are not currently available. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Passengers booked on Southwest flights should monitor their bookings. If your flight is canceled, Southwest will likely notify you ahead of time and then offer rebooking options. Or else, passengers can retain the funds with Southwest for use on a future booking.

Southwest
Passengers will have options to rebook their flights. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Overall

Out of nearly 4,000 daily flights, Southwest Airlines is preparing to cut 1,000 of those through April 14th. After April 14th, the airline will operate a previously disclosed 20% reduced domestic schedule. Furthermore, the airline will fly no international flights through May 4th. This is an incredible reduction in passenger capacity.

Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines known for heavy usage of its all-737 fleet. Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has not faced the kind of intense international cancellations seen with other major US airlines. Many US airlines are registering a sharp drop in demand and requesting government assistance.

Due to the fluid nature of the situation, it is unclear exactly if Southwest will need to cancel more flights and park more planes. The airline is known for having a robust schedule with high aircraft usage per day for its all-Boeing 737 fleet.

Has your flight been affected by Southwest’s latest schedule modification? Let us know in the comments!

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