Of all of the industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are two that appear to have taken the brunt of the fiscal hit: The restaurant industry and the travel industry.
In both case, it was a matter of social distancing. In restaurants and bars, the only way for a business to make enough money to pay the bills is by keeping a fairly steady clip of customers in the building. Of course, the sheer square footage of a restaurant can be a major budgetary factor, so spacing tables out in a large eatery just isn’t going to cut it.
In the travel industry, not only is social distancing an issue, (along with the fact that many of the attractions of a vacation would be impacted), but, specifically in air travel, there was a concern about the recirculation of air among sick and at-risk customers.
As both industries continue to recover, a new hurdle has arrived, as a great number of employees and potential employees are refusing to comply with corporate vaccine mandates.
Just two days after the Southwest pilots union asked a federal judge to block the company’s vaccine mandate, the airline canceled 1,800 flights this weekend, blaming bad weather.
“Southwest Airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights this weekend, disrupting the travel plans of thousands of customers and stranding flight crews, blaming the meltdown on a combination of bad weather, air traffic control and its own shortage of available staff,” reported CNBC.
In a note to staff on Sunday, Alan Kasher, executive vice president of daily flight operations, said that the airline “did not anticipate” the series of disruptions that arose over the weekend.
“I know this is incredibly difficult for all of you, and our customers are not happy,” said Kasher.
Those excuses didn’t hold any water, however, as the FAA reported no unusual activity in the air traffic control sector, and a cursory mathematical examination of the total number of flight cancelations over the weekend shows that this was a problem unique to Southwest.