SkyWest Airlines crippled by computer woes, forced to cancel 700 flights

Oct 22, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Massive internal computer issues reportedly forced regional carrier SkyWest Airlines to ground nearly 700 flights and delay hundreds of others Thursday as the airline scrambled to fix the problem.

For more TPG news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

SkyWest attributed the schedule meltdown to a “server issue,” according to Reuters, and said it took about five hours to resolve and allow flights to resume. But the cascading impact of the flight cancellations continued into Friday as SkyWest worked to get its crews and planes back in position.

The airline had canceled about 330 flights — about 15% of its daily schedule — as of 10:30 a.m. ET Friday while another 100 were running behind schedule, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

A spokesperson for SkyWest said the carrier was working “to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.”

Related: What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled

(Route map courtesy of Skywest)
SkyWest’s route map. (Image courtesy of SkyWest)

SkyWest is the largest regional airline in the U.S. Headquartered in Utah, it’s a partner airline providing service under the regional brands of four of the nation’s five largest “mainline” carriers: American, Delta, Alaska and United. A look at SkyWest’s route map gives you an idea of how wide a reach the airline has and how its outage affected U.S. air travel across the networks of several major airlines.

SkyWest, which has a base at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), told local TV station KARE11 that an “internal technical issue” was to blame.

The SkyWest chaos rippled across major airline hubs on Thursday, affecting passengers at airports large and small. Among them were Minneapolis-St. Paul — where SkyWest flies Delta Connection flights from Delta’s hub — and Denver, a hub for United.

The disruptions also hit smaller markets, where regional carriers like SkyWest provide much of the scheduled service. In Fresno, California, for example, The Fresno Bee reported that SkyWest canceled seven of the 17 flights it operates at that airport.

Communications — or a perceived lack of them — compounded the problem for many travelers hit with SkyWest’s delays and cancellations. Typically, major airlines communicate information for operations run by their regional affiliates. But the widespread cascading issues appeared to leave SkyWest’s major partners scrambling to update passengers on the problem.

“I understand bad things happen – weather, mechanics and so forth. But they should be able to give you some information to give you comfort and security,” passenger Philip Hogan told ABC 30 of Fresno after he was stranded there following a SkyWest cancellation.

On the flip side, some travelers took to Twitter to applaud Alaska Airlines for trying to get the message out to its customers.

Still, passengers flying SkyWest on Friday should keep tabs on the status of their flights as the carrier works to get its operation back to normal.

For those who do encounter issues with delayed or canceled flights, there are some tips that can help solve the problem.

TPG has a full guide to troubleshooting irregular operations, and keep in mind that some credit cards come with trip cancellation and interruption insurance that can help offset unexpected expenses that stem from a delay or cancellation.

Featured photo by Daniel Slim/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.