FAA lifts ground stop for Southwest Airlines; dozens of flights affected at Phoenix Sky Harbor

Southwest Airlines announced this morning that they had a data connection problem causing the Dallas-based airline to stop all departures nationwide.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 7:52 AM MST|Updated: Apr. 18, 2023 at 8:22 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/CNN) -- Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights are delayed including many out of Phoenix Sky Harbor as issues plague the airline Tuesday morning. Southwest Airlines announced they had a data connection problem causing the Dallas-based airline to stop all departures nationwide. The problem only lasted less than an hour. But by then, the damage was already done and caused a ripple effect. In all, more than 1,900 flights across the nation were delayed which equates to nearly half of all their flights.

According to FlightAware, 182 Southwest flights were delayed Tuesday at Sky Harbor following some technical issues. Nationwide, more than 2,400 Southwest flights were delayed on Tuesday. As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, nearly 500 Southwest flights were delayed but only four were canceled across the country.

Arizona’s Family talked to Valley residents flying Southwest the day after technical glitches forced the airline to ground all flights for a period of time. Samantha Hamilton says she’s “absolutely” concerned about flying the airline because she wants “a reliable flight and it doesn’t seem like they’re super reliable right now.”

Will travelers look at other airlines this summer when they go on a family vacation?

“Yes, I even looked for other flights for this trip, but this was the one that let us get out of here the earliest so that we can get where we’re going at a decent time,” Valley resident Kim Hamilton said.

In all, there were at least 124 Southwest flights departing Phoenix that were delayed affecting passengers like Robin Holcomb. “Well, right now we’re delayed about two hours, but I have a feeling that it’s going to get worse,” Robin told On Your Side. Robin was supposed to depart for St. Louis at 1:50 this afternoon. But her flight was delayed until 3:28 pm. “I had concerns about Southwest and now my concerns are even more valid.”

On its website, Southwest Airlines stated, “We offer our heartfelt apologies to Customers whose journey with us today might be delayed.”

Many passengers took the inconvenience in stride saying as long as they get where they want to go. “It’s not terrible,” Robin said. “Fortunately, we don’t have any hard deadlines to meet but you know it does mean getting home after dark.”

Today’s problem in no way comes close to the meltdown Southwest Airlines experienced just a few months ago when they were forced to cancel 17,000 flights over a 10-day period. That resulted in the airline losing $800 million in the fourth quarter.

Southwest says any passengers who were unable to make their delayed or canceled flights can rebook within 14 days at no charge.

CNN’s Greg Wallace and Pete Muntean contributed to this report.