Pete Buttigieg Absent as Flight Delays Snarl Columbus Day Weekend Travel
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was absent Monday as a surge of flight delays snarled travel in the South over the Columbus Day weekend.
Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,300 flights over the three-day federal holiday weekend, citing limited staffing and bad weather.
The Department of Transportation did not reply to a request for comment from Breitbart News on Monday about Buttigieg’s response to the crisis or about where he spent the weekend.
But Buttigieg’s Twitter account shared a message promoting Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a leftist alternative proposal to the celebration of Columbus Day.
This Indigenous Peoples’ Day, @USDOT honors the history, culture, and achievements of Native Americans and recognizes our role in ensuring Indigenous people have ready access to safe, reliable transportation services.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) October 11, 2021
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the delays on Friday were a result of severe weather, military training and limited staffing in a Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center but did not share any details about the interrupted flights over the rest of the weekend.
Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place. (2/2)
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) October 10, 2021
The delays occurred two days after the Southwest Airlines pilots’ union asked a federal judge to block the company’s vaccine mandate, prompting speculation about a possible “sick out” protest of employees reacting to the draconian measure.
A Southwest Airlines spokeswoman denied any evidence of a coordinated staff protest.
“It’s inaccurate,” a spokeswoman told CNBC. “There’s a lot of unfounded rumor and speculation circulating.”
Buttigieg remained silent through Monday, despite the crisis.
The Secretary of Transportation was last seen on Friday in an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Buttigieg spoke about the ongoing struggles to deal with the clogged ship ports as well as being a new parent of twins.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly… it’s the most demanding thing I think I’ve ever done,” he said about becoming a parent.