While America is still dealing with the fallout that was the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the crisis at the Southern Border, the Biden administration decided to create yet another dilemma thanks to mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. For months, President Joe Biden had promoted the vaccine with little show for it. Believing the only way to get citizens vaccinated was to force them, Biden mandated that many companies require the vaccine. With many mandates taking effect last month, it appears the airline industry is having problems when it comes to finding pilots. And it’s all thanks to the vaccine mandate. 

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On Monday, frequent flyers were astonished to see that Southwest Airlines had canceled nearly 2,000 flights over the weekend. With the cancelations carrying over into the week, many are starting to wonder if the vaccine mandate doesn’t have something to do with the shortages. 

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By the time Monday came around, thousands of passengers were stranded due to 365 flights being canceled and another 600 being delayed. With customers wanting answers, Southwest Airlines claimed that canceled flights were due to bad weather in Florida and air traffic control issues. 

Although Southwest blames the flight for technical issues, it should be noted that employees are currently on strike over the vaccine mandate put in place. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association filed a lawsuit on Friday that asked for a hearing with the federal courts in Dallas. The association claims the carrier in question has used actions that violate the terms of the Railway Labor Act. 

“The new vaccine mandate unlawfully imposes new conditions of employment and the new policy threatens termination of any pilot not fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021. Southwest Airlines’ additional new and unilateral modification of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement is in clear violation of the RLA.”

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With the vaccine mandate taking effect on October 4th, and the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association taking action, it appears the airline is already struggling as the union represents over 4,000 pilots.