Southwest Airlines to cut 35,000 flights this October

Southwest Airlines will cut roughly 40 percent of its flights from the October schedule.

That means 35,000 fewer flights due to a decrease in demand. But Southwest says it still isn't planning any layoffs or furloughs at this time.

The decision to cut the flights was based off of forecasted travel demand.

Southwest Airlines has said it does not plan on any furloughs or layoffs through the end of the year. Still, the Flight Attendant’s Union is urging Congress to pass another round of funding.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines will be flying into the fall season with much fewer flights.

On Monday, the airline confirmed it will cut some 35,000 flights for the month of October due to low customer demand.

Gabe Saglie is the senior editor for Travelzoo. He isn't surprised by the airline's move.

“Although there has been these small gains in the last couple of weeks and all signs are pointing in a positive direction, we're still at about one-third of the volume of travelers taking to the skies today versus a year ago,” he said.

The reduction in flights means fewer options for passengers.

In a statement, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said in part: “Some journeys that were previously nonstop might now require a stop or a connection and we’ve reached to any customer who already was booked and who was impacted by changes to our flight schedule."

Denny Kelly is a retired commercial airline captain and aviation expert.

“It's not just a matter of cutting flights and saving money,” he said. “It's a matter of cutting flights and seeing the effects it has long term.”

Southwest's CEO has said the airline does not plan to furlough or lay off employees through the end of 2020.

Billions of dollars’ worth of federal funding provided to airlines by the CARES Act expires in October. Part of that money funds the payroll support program.

In a statement, the president of the Flight Attendant's Union said: “While Southwest Airlines has assured us that no flight attendant lay-offs are expected through the end of this year, we know that customer demand has been widely impacted. This critical legislation can keep our industry intact...”

“The fact of the matter is we're expecting these companies to survive but leaner, smaller entities,” Saglie said. “Then I think in the next 12 to 18 months, we will see a comeback a rebound of a lot of these flights.”

FOX 4 reached out to the union that represents pilots for Southwest Airlines, but we have not heard back. The airline says it will re-evaluate routes again ahead of what is typically a busy holiday travel season.