Southwest Airlines grounded all planes last night because of a glitch in weather data, delaying passengers by 3 hours

Southwest Airlines grounded all of its flights Monday night after a technical error.
Southwest Airlines grounded all of its flights Monday night after a technical error. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Southwest Airlines grounded all of its flights Monday night due to a technical glitch.
  • Southwest said a third-party weather data provider “experienced intermittend performance issues.”
  • It grounded flights for safety reasons, it said. It resumed some flights after three hours, NPR reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Southwest Airlines grounded all of its planes Monday night after a network glitch stopped operators receiving vital weather data, delaying passengers for hours.

A company spokesperson said in a statement that its third-party weather data provider “experienced intermittent performance issues.” It did not identify the third-party provider.

Southwest confirmed in tweets to frustrated customers that a “systemwide error” and “technical difficulties” were behind the delays.

California’s Hollywood Burbank airport also tweeted at 22:38 EST that Southwest had suspended flights nationwide due to “network issues.”

Flights were grounded from about 9pm EST, and some flights had resumed by midnight, NPR reported.

“We’ve resumed normal flight operations after our third-party weather data provider experienced intermittent performance issues Monday evening preventing transmission of weather information that is required to safely operate our aircraft,” Southwest said in the statement, shared with Insider Tuesday morning.

“While Southwest Teams and the vendor worked to restore connectivity, we implemented a ground stop to protect the Safety of our Crews and Customers. We appreciate our Customers’ patience as we work to get them to their destinations as quickly as possible. We ask that Customers use Southwest.com to check flight status or consult a Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent for assistance with travel needs.”

Southwest passengers from Phoenix to Chicago took to Twitter to complain about the delays. One user tweeted that her flight from Chicago Midway Airport was delayed by more than three hours.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, a New York Times journalist, tweeted that her flight left Florida for Baltimore 20 minutes after it was supposed to land, and was delayed further by a security incident. In another tweet, she said that two police officers escorted some passengers off the plane, but that the pilot did not give more details.