Southwest's Pilots Just Voted to Strike — What to Know

Thankfully, we're told travelers don't need to worry about any upcoming plans.

<p>Ashlee Duncan/Courtesy of Southwest Airlines</p>

Ashlee Duncan/Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

As a busy summer travel season approaches, there are already mounting problems for one of the largest low-cost carriers in the United States. 

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, or SWAPA, announced on Thursday that 99 percent of pilots voted to authorized a strike. Ninety-five percent of pilots in the union participated in the vote. 

Southwest maintains they are trying to find a deal to avoid any disruptions. 

<p>Ashlee Duncan/Courtesy of Southwest Airlines</p>

Ashlee Duncan/Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

"Our negotiating team continues to bargain in good faith and work toward reaching a new agreement to reward our Pilots," said Southwest Airlines’ Vice President Labor Relations Adam Carlisle said in a statement

Although the pilots union has voted to authorize a strike, the airline points out that, “Southwest's Pilots are not on strike, and the vote result has no impact on our scheduled operations. We are staffed and prepared to welcome travelers for their summer travel plans”.

The pilots union cites recent technical issues, and operational issues that disrupted travel plans as part of the reason for the strike. 

“The lack of leadership and the unwillingness to address the failures of our organization have led us to this point. Our pilots are tired of apologizing to our passengers on behalf of a company that refuses to place its priorities on its internal and external customers.” SWAPA’s President Casey Murray said in a statement.

With the news of the strike authorization, aviation experts say passengers shouldn’t be too concerned - yet.

“There are plenty of things for travelers to worry about this summer — a strike by Southwest (or, for that matter, American) pilots isn't one of them,” notes’s Founder & Chief Flight Officer Scott Keyes, “Despite Southwest pilots voting this week to authorize a strike, federal law mandates an extensive process for airline labor negotiations, including arbitration, cooling off periods, and other lengthy steps. While these votes grab headlines, they're best viewed as a negotiating tactic than a precursor to an actual strike.” 

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