It’s going to be harder to catch a Southwest Airlines flight this fall

August 27, 2021, 3:38 PM UTC

People hoping to enjoy the fall weather this year might find it a little harder to get out of town.

Southwest Airlines has announced it will cut its flight schedule through Nov. 5 as it struggles with staffing issues and to better align its employee operations. The airline cuts will average 27 flights per day from Sept. 7 through Oct. 6, and 162 daily flights from Oct. 7 through Nov. 5.

Similar cuts are expected in November and December, though the carrier said it was aiming to maintain the usual number around the holidays, in anticipation of higher traffic.

“We’re confident these adjustments will create a more reliable travel experience,” chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement.

It’s been a rough summer for Southwest, with a sizable number of delayed and canceled flights. Some have been due to weather across the country, but the airline is seemingly having issues getting enough employees as well. On Thursday, the company said it is “aggressively” hiring and now offering employee incentives for new referrals.

The company said it expects to have all of employees on voluntary leave back by the end of the year.

Southwest is hardly alone. Spirit Airlines recently announced it would operate on a reduced schedule through the end of September, citing staffing problems. That carrier cut an average of 50 flights per day.

The moves come as consumer demand for air travel begins to wane once again, as Americans are increasingly concerned about the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

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