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Southwest Pilots Cite Fatigue as Safety Issue

edited April 15 in Off-Topic
The union that represents pilots at Southwest Airlines Co. says rising rates of fatigue among pilots is a threat to the airline’s safety. In a letter to top Southwest executives that it released publicly Tuesday, the union said it has seen a sharp rise in pilot reports of fatigue since last summer as the airline has ramped its schedule up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Fatigue, both acute and cumulative, has become Southwest Airlines’number-one safety threat,”the union wrote. The union said there has been a sharp increase in the rate of pilots turning down flying because they are fatigued, as well as a rising number of reports to a voluntary safety reporting program that includes airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration, and pilots, showing “errors that can be directly correlated to fatigue.”

(later in article) Southwest said it has systems in place that don’t allow it to schedule crew without their required 10 hours of rest. “If there are instances where pilots were unable to obtain eight hours of sleep within that 10-hour window, we will review those circumstances and respond,” a Southwest spokeswoman said. Crews have faced hourslong waits to find hotels when disruptions such as weather throw operations into turmoil—something that was an issue earlier this month for multiple airlines after storms roiled operations in Florida.

Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal - April 13

Comments

  • oh, boy. I'm not flying as long as masks are required, anyhow.
  • "I'm not flying as long as masks are required, anyhow."

    Rather missing the point, it seems to me. More like "I'm not flying until I am reasonably certain that I will not be seriously or fatally infected by the passengers seated around me".

    And when that day may be anticipated I have absolutely no idea.
  • Old_Joe said:

    "I'm not flying as long as masks are required, anyhow."

    Rather missing the point, it seems to me. More like "I'm not flying until I am reasonably certain that I will not be seriously or fatally infected by the passengers seated around me".

    And when that day may be anticipated I have absolutely no idea.

    No, I understood. Just a hasty remark. Pilots are right not to be pushed beyond their limits. And MY point is simply that I refuse to breathe my own CO2 for such a length of time, on a flight, wearing a mask. Still have to do it on the city bus. It's necessary. But I hate it. THAT'S ok, isn't it?
  • edited April 16
    Spent 10 hours Wednesday in airports and on planes. Lesson: Bring a couple extra clean masks along. The same one starts to smell raunchy after 5-6 hours constant wear. Especially if you’ve been toting heavy luggage around. And the F…. air circulation system wasn’t working on the last hour long flight making everyone miserable.

    I deleted earlier a comment in the OP I’ll share here. On a recent evening flight into local airport the crew revealed they’d been flying for over 13 hours on multiple flights, starting at 7:00 AM that morning and not ending until 8:30 PM. Seems like a lot. Just navigating the crowded taxiways at O’Hare in order to take off is a nightmare, requiring (in our case) well over 30 minutes to reach the assigned runway..

    I don’t have any comment on mask mandates.

    (Deleted)
  • I have no issue wearing mask on flights, especially for oversea flights. We found double-layer silk mask from traveling shops to be most comfortable in term of breathability and comfort versus KN95 mask. Price has doubled since the pandemic. Still we wear mask in domestic flights.
  • (hank:) "requiring (in our case) well over 30 minutes (just) to reach the assigned runway..
    That's simply and totally batshit nuts.
  • ORD, I believe.
  • edited April 18
    I like ORD. That’s what United & American use for transfers to longer distance flights. The other option is through DTW (Delta). DTW is a bit less congested. It’s 20-30 minutes in the air up to TVC from ORD. So typically more time on the ground than in the air.:)

    Apparently, intersecting runways are in use at ORD, making taxiing arguably the more perilous portion of the flight.
  • "making taxiing arguably the more perilous portion of the flight"

    For sure.
  • We have taken the big plunge, spending two weeks on two Hawaiian islands. Despite masking up on two long flights, I managed to catch an ugly cold three days along. I have hardly been sick since Covid began and felt far worse worrying about what virus I have. BTW, we are twice boosted. On Kauai almost all testing programs have been rolled up and I could not get an appointment anywhere. Had to rely on commercial at-home test, which says negative. Today we took a puddle hopper on which many were masked, although all Hawaiian Airlines staff and all terminal personnel are masked. Passengers in the airport and at car rental center have largely abandoned the mask.
  • @BenWP
    Sorry to read about your illness. Just not fair, to have this trip and then not feel well.
    Hoping you are able to have access to OTC meds for some relief.
  • BenWP said:

    We have taken the big plunge, spending two weeks on two Hawaiian islands. Despite masking up on two long flights, I managed to catch an ugly cold three days along. I have hardly been sick since Covid began and felt far worse worrying about what virus I have. BTW, we are twice boosted. On Kauai almost all testing programs have been rolled up and I could not get an appointment anywhere. Had to rely on commercial at-home test, which says negative. Today we took a puddle hopper on which many were masked, although all Hawaiian Airlines staff and all terminal personnel are masked. Passengers in the airport and at car rental center have largely abandoned the mask.

    I'm so sorry. That stinks. I live in Hawaii and deeply appreciate our climate and environment here. I wish you were able to enjoy it more fully. Load up on OTC meds!

  • @BenWP- very sorry to hear about this- hope things get better over there.

    OJ
  • Good and bad news today. On Maui no pharmacies have at-home tests, but I found a great urgent care that swabbed my nose after a very short wait, pronounced me Covid-negative, and diagnosed the flu. This despite my having had the flu vaccine shot. Got Tamifu generic and Z Pack Rxs filled next door and I had a fine salad for lunch. Not 100% but much relieved not to be in isolation. Thanks so much for the good wishes.
  • BenWP said:

    Good and bad news today. On Maui no pharmacies have at-home tests, but I found a great urgent care that swabbed my nose after a very short wait, pronounced me Covid-negative, and diagnosed the flu. This despite my having had the flu vaccine shot. Got Tamifu generic and Z Pack Rxs filled next door and I had a fine salad for lunch. Not 100% but much relieved not to be in isolation. Thanks so much for the good wishes.

    That's more like it! GOOD on ya.
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