It was a cold night in Baltimore on December 28th, 2022. Hundreds of passengers were anticipating their flight trip back home after their holidays. But, the situation took a drastic turn when Southwest Airlines abruptly cancelled a majority of the flights.
Now, it's no surprise that bad weather played a role here, but what was surprising was how Southwest was significantly affected compared to other airlines. While major airlines only cancelled 3% of their flights on the same day, Southwest cancelled more than 59% of its flights!
So, what gives?
It all came down to their outdated IT infrastructure. Southwest Airlines has been relying on a two-decade-old scheduling software that has undergone numerous patch updates. This created a complex yet fragile system that couldn't handle such a huge disruption.
As it turned out, Southwest couldn't keep track of its crew and pilots after so many flights were cancelled, and the whole system collapsed.
The result? 16,700 flights were cancelled, $800 million in losses and thousands of passengers were stranded in one of the busiest times of the year.
Isn’t this fiasco a prime example of how relying on outdated tech can cause severe repercussions on today’s modern operations?
Until next time, 🥂
Product Marketer, Zluri