Southwest apologizes for their Christmas disruptions, but only to those who plan to keep using them.
Between December 22 and 30, Southwest Airlines canceled over 15,000 flights. The trouble began with the massive winter storm that crossed most of the country, but didn’t stop with the high winds. With crews and airplanes stranded off their assigned paths, it took days to clear up the issue. Days longer than any other airline. Over a million passengers were affected. Many still did not have their luggage returned to them as of January 1st. Some have still not been able to reach their destination or return home.
The airline has blamed their crew-scheduling software for the extended disruption, saying that it complicated returning flight crews and planes to where they were needed. The FAA has promised to rigorously review Southwest Airline’s scheduling practices. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the Southwest CEO to tell him the state of affairs was unacceptable.
“I know that no amount of apologies can undo your experience,” wrote CEO Bob Jordan in an apology letter. He says that the airline is doing their best to expedite refunds, find lost luggage, and handle reimbursement requests.
“This has impacted so many people, so many customers, over the holidays. It’s impacted our employees. And I’m extremely sorry for that,” Jordan also said, this time in an interview with ABC. “There’s just no way almost to apologize enough because we love our customers, we love our people and we really impacted their plans.”
Along with those measures, the airline is offering 25,000 frequent-flier points, the equivalent of approximately $300 in flights. But those are only good to those who have accounts with Southwest and intend to use the troubled airline again.
The disruption, which caused an 8% dip in Southwest’s stock prices, will definitely be obvious in their fourth quarter financial report as well.
Photo: Around the World Photos / Shutterstock