It was about one month ago, on October 10, that Southwest had an unforgettable meltdown that included 40 Southwest Hawaii flights being canceled in one day alone. In total, SWA canceled 2,000+ flights, which cost the airline a hefty $75 million.
At the time, we said this could be a massive problem with the potential for widescale interruption at the upcoming Hawaii travel holiday season. And today, while we definitely have some good news to report, there are also uncertainties remaining.
The issue in part first arose as the Texas-based Southwest pilots union asked for an exemption to the federal vaccine mandate for contracting companies. That mandate was due to be implemented on November 22.
Now, however, the federal government has extended the deadline for its vaccination mandate impacting airlines until January 4, 2022, completely clear of the upcoming holidays.
Business interests had asked the administration for a delay until after the hectic holiday season. They are concerned workers might quit or sick-out rather than comply with the rules, throwing further wrenches into the travel works.
TSA mandate issues not yet resolved.
Transportation Security Administration still needs to deal with as much as 40% of its workforce who remain unvaccinated since the deadline for federal employees to be fully vaccinated is still coming up this month.
Two senators wrote to TSA administrator David Pekoske asking for details of whatever contingency plans the agency has in place.
Come prepared at the holidays and check TSA wait times.
While the pending airline crisis may have been averted, and hopefully the TSA one will be as well, it doesn’t mean it won’t be busy here in Hawaii. We expect our tourism to be on a tear during the holidays this year.
TSA is anticipating a hectic season with a surge in travelers to the islands. Keep in mind that lines at security vary significantly by time of day, among other things. You can check online to know what to expect and to plan your airport arrival time accordingly. That website is at https://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/check-wait-times.
The busiest days to travel are weekends and surrounding days, with mid-week being better.
Got travel questions? We’ve got answers! Join the FAA, @CDCgov, @CDCtravel, @TravelGov and @TSA at https://t.co/VZtvKqiBQn on November 9 at 2 PM ET for the latest to keep you safe and prepared ahead of your holiday travels. pic.twitter.com/DYfiljJt4L
— TSA (@TSA) November 4, 2021